Toronto Metropolitan University
Final Report-Food Safety and Diversity-2010-02-15-reivised.pdf (535.99 kB)

Food Safety and Diversity: Knowledge Transfer/Translation and Chinese Newcomers in Toronto

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posted on 2023-09-01, 19:40 authored by Mustafa KocMustafa Koc, Lichun Willa Liu, Ozlem Guclu-Ustundag

Canada with its growing immigrant population (19.8 % of the total population born outside of Canada in 2006) is home to over 200 ethnic communities. This cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity, while enriching the Canadian society, presents a significant challenge to public health organizations, in determining the diverse needs of these communities, breaking linguistic barriers and ensuring newcomers’ access to information and public services. 

To ensure the safety of traditional foods and facilitate safe food handling, the educational and information needs of community members as well as the service providers themselves (public health nurses and inspectors, community workers and immigrant settlement workers) need to be addressed. However there are wide knowledge gaps in the area of traditional foods and food safety as identified by a background report prepared by the Public Health Agency of Canada - this includes information on traditional foods, food handling and preparation practices, educational needs of public health officials and newcomers. Partnerships between communities, food safety professionals, practitioners and academics can create mutual learning opportunities and facilitate exchange of knowledge and experience to bridge these gaps resulting in an increased understanding of traditional foods and food handling practices. 

Immigrants from China represent one of the largest groups of recent arrivals to Canada. This project provides a community perspective concerning food safety as expressed by recent Chinese immigrants, and how this knowledge can be transferred to local health officials. 

This study explores the food safety practices among the recent Chinese immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area, and the educational and informational needs as well as the knowledge gaps between the recent Chinese immigrants and their health service providers (public health officials/inspectors, community workers and health educators). By using mixed research methods of collecting data through a small-scale survey, focus group, and individual interviews, this study provides insights on food safety as expressed by recent Chinese immigrants, one of the largest immigrant groups to Canada in the past decade, and by the local health officials and community workers in order to find more effective ways to facilitate knowledge exchange/transfer among and between the two groups. 


Prepared for Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). 




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