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Food Safety and Diversity: Experiences of Public Health and Settlement Officials with New Immigrants

Cooks on a hot line cooking in a restaurant kitchen

Immigrant-run food business in Toronto 

Photo credit: Albert Leung, CBC

Traditional foods and food practices constitute an essential part of immigrants’ cultural and ethnic identity. Retaining food diversity also enriches the multicultural Canadian society. However, ensuring the safety of traditional foods and facilitating safe food handling among new immigrants to Canada presents a significant challenge to public health organizations. The goal of this preliminary exploratory research is to collect information from service agencies to identify knowledge gaps regarding public health risks among new immigrants in terms of food safety practices. The project will explore how service providers from public health and settlement agencies identify concerns regarding the food safety practices of new immigrants and how this knowledge is communicated among service agencies and shared with the target populations. The objectives of this study are twofold: 1. to investigate the experiences of public health inspectors, peer nutrition network representatives and settlement workers with food safety practices of new immigrants, 2. to examine the factors that facilitate or hinder the learning, communication and exchange of food safety knowledge and practices among ethnic communities and service agencies. The study will also contribute to developing culturally appropriate food safety policies, programs, and activities for new immigrants.


Fatih Sekercioglu (PI), Toronto Metropolitan University
Mustafa Koc, Toronto Metropolitan University
Saman Rauf (RA), Toronto Metropolitan University



Partnership for Change: The RBC Immigrant, Diversity and Inclusion Project at Toronto Metropolitan University. $16,370.

Project dates

June 2020-2021