Food Resources

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Public health is affected by the food choices people make, the quality and quantity of food available, and the ways food is produced. The modernization of food systems has resulted in complex environments in which food is produced, processed, distributed, and ultimately disposed. Land use planning and retail environments shape how and where people grow, buy, prepare, and eat food. Contaminated soil, water, or air can introduce toxins such as heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and agricultural chemicals into the food supply. Social, cultural, and economic factors influence food-related decisions from the individual to the international level.

Access to safe and nutritious food is essential for a healthy population. Whether food is prepared by a large-scale food manufacturer, at a restaurant, or at home, many factors from farm to fork can influence the quality and safety of food. Each year, lapses in food safety contribute to an estimated 4 million episodes of foodborne illness in Canada. While food safety is an important part of food security, initiatives aimed at improving food security can also introduce particular challenges to ensuring food safety. Food security exists when everyone has dignified access to enough safe, nutritious, and appropriate food that has been produced through a just and sustainable system. Food insecurity can lead to hunger or poor nutritional health, and is associated with increased risk for chronic disease, obesity, and learning or mental health challenges.

Public health strategies that include health promotion, supportive environments, risk communication, surveillance, and regulation at federal, provincial/territorial, and local levels aim to create a healthier food system.

The NCCEH has produced numerous resources related to food, including: 

Evidence reviews:

Practice Scenarios

Workshops & Presentations:


This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Omission of a resource does not preclude it from having value.

Last updated Nov 19, 2014