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Healthy Food Access & Food Security

About

At the BCCDC, we are supporting healthy food access and food security through: 
  • Ongoing efforts to align the Food Safety and Food Security Public Health Core Programs
  • Working to improve the quality of charitable food donations
  • Exploring the role of EHOs in supporting food security efforts

Access to safe and nutritious food is essential for a healthy population

Food security exists when “all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Food Security (FAO)). That means more than simply having enough food to ward off hunger. It means that people have the means to grow or buy the food they need to be healthy and maintain cultural preferences and traditions. Many health agencies support a goal of community food security, which incorporates sustainable food systems, community self-reliance, and equity of access as essential aspects of making healthy food choices.

Food insecurity is an important public health issue and a determinant of health. Food insecurity is associated with:
  • Poor nutritional status
  • Poorer school performance among children
  • Fewer opportunities to learn healthy eating habits
  • Higher prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and psychosocial issues
  • Higher risk of obesity among women

The most recent Canadian Community Health Survey found over 8% of British Columbians experience food insecurity. People living in poverty have the greatest risk for food insecurity, but it also impacts students, pensioners, single parent households, and aboriginal people, new immigrants, people with mobility challenges or low food skills, and even middle class people living in areas without nearby grocery stores.

Food safety and food security in British Columbia

Food safety and food security are important and overlapping aspects of population and public health, and comprise two of BC's core public health functions. There are many successful collaborative efforts between the food safety and food security sectors in British Columbia. However, there is little documentation to support on-going collaboration. BCCDC Environmental Health Services and PHSA Population and Public Health commissioned Dr. Shannon Majowicz from the University of Waterloo to explore opportunities and mechanisms that support increased collaboration between the food safety and food security/healthy eating sectors. 

Food safety and food security in British Columbia: Promoting effective inter-sectoral collaboration is intended to provide public health practitioners, decision-makers, and food security organizations with ideas to support future collaborative efforts. It identifies some of the facilitators and barriers to effective collaboration as well as the range of formats that collaboration can take. It is based on a 2015 literature review and key informant interviews with the food safety and food security sectors from the BC regional health authorities, provincial government, and nongovernmental organizations.

This work was funded by Through an equity lens: A new look at environmental health, a three-year project of BCCDC and funded by PHSA's Population and Public Health Primordial/Primary Prevention Projects program focused on incorporating equity considerations into environmental health services. 

Donation guidelines

Food donation

BCCDC partnered with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Food Banks BC, and MetroVancouver to create these Guidelines for Food Distribution Organizations with Grocery or Meal Programs and Industry Food Donation Guidelines. Although we recognize that food assistance programs do not address the root causes of food insecurity, the reality is that many people depend on them for food. We hope that these guidelines will:

  • raise awareness of the problem of food insecurity in BC, 
  • support the development of positive working relationships between food distribution organizations and donors, 
  • encourage redistribution (rather than waste) of safe and healthy foods, and 
  • improve the quality of foods available from food distribution organizations with grocery and meal programs.

Guidelines for Food Distribution Organizations (FDOs) with Grocery or Meal Programs 

NEW FORMAT! Download the complete Guidelines for FDOs with Grocery or Meal Programs.

This document provides guidance for organizations that receive food donations. It includes information about inspections, liability, nutrition, interacting with donors, training staff and volunteers, food safety and safe food handling, food storage and traceability, transporting food, waste reduction and disposal, and building upkeep.

Industry Food Donation Guidelines 

iStock_000020001753_Double.jpg 
Download the complete Industry Food Donation Guidelines

These guidelines are also presented as a 3-part series:
  1. Executive Summary and Rationale
    This document contains the Executive Summary for the complete 3-part Industry Food Donation Guidelines, as well as background information about food donation, why you should consider donating food, and addresses concerns about liability. Read this document if you are a business owner, manager, or decision maker.
  2. Starting and Managing a Food Donation Program – in 3 Steps
    This is a “how-to” guide for setting up and maintaining a food donation program. Read this for guidance on the day-to-day operations related to food donation.
  3. Industry-Specific Information (for Processors, Caterers/ Restaurants, and Retailers) 
    This document provides information geared to the unique processes of donating food from processing or manufacturing plants, catering businesses or restaurants, and food retailers. It provides specific advice and decision tools that are unique to different types of operations. 

Supporting documents for guidelines

Food Donor Registration Form template - fill-able fill-able Word fill-able PDF
Food Donor: FDO MOU template editable Word fill-able PDF
FDO Application to Receive Foods from Another FDO form template fill-able Word fill-able PDF
Food Rescue Labels fill-able PDF
Sample Clauses for Agreements between FDOs Word PDF
Sample Clauses for Food Donor Agreements Word PDF
Frozen Perishable Food Decision Tree PDF
Refrigerated Perishable Food Decision Tree PDF
Flow Chart to Evaluate Box Packaging PDF
Giving Out Foods Past the BBD (Food Banks Canada) PDF
Unacceptable Food Can Damage PDF
Danger Zone Thermometer PNG Image PDF
Food Cooling Thermometer PNG Image PDF

Food scraps recovery options

The following is a list of businesses known to provide food scraps recovery options. This list is updated as new information becomes available. Organizations not listed that wish to have their information included on this list and website may contact Food Protection Services at fpinfo@bccdc.ca.

Rabbitats Canada, a non-profit rabbit rescue in Vancouver recovers produce from grocery retailers for rabbits in their rescue shelter. Rabbit manure is composted along with the bedding and given to gardeners for a small fee/donation.

  


Urban Digs Farm in South Burnaby recovers unsaleable food from food processors, distributors, and other businesses for animal feed. Opportunities for recovering food edible for animals exist all along the supply chain: whey from cheese making, vegetable trimmings from vegetable processing, spent brewery grains from microbreweries, close-dated yogurt, unsold bread from bakeries, and whole raw produce from retailers.  

  


Enterra is a Vancouver-based company that uses traceable, pre-consumer food waste from grocery stores, food processors, and distributors as feedstock to up-cycle the food waste to sustainable natural protein, oils and fertilizer used as feed ingredients in aquaculture, poultry farming and pet foods.

 


West Coast Reduction is a Vancouver-based independent 

rendering company that receives used cooking oil and meat and fish by-products from farms, feedlots, restaurants, butcher shops, super markets, and processors of beef, pork, poultry and fish products intended for human consumption. By-products are transferred to a rendering plant where they are processed into useful rendered finished products, including fish and animal feed, pet food, biodiesel, and soaps. 

  


Spa Hills Compost offers commercial composting to local businesses and facilities in the Shuswap and North Okanagan. They provide a pick-up service for compostable waste on a weekly basis or as needed. They supply waste containers with compostable bags and outdoor storage bins. 

  


Harvest Power helps the Metro Vancouver region meet its zero waste, clean energy, and healthy soils through its Energy Garden and Composting facility in Richmond. The Energy Garden uses anaerobic digestion technology to produce electricity – enough to power 900 local homes – from the region’s food scraps and yard debris. This facility is the first commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digester (HSAD) facility in Canada. The site also boasts a robust composting site: Harvest is a wholesale manufacturer of top quality compost, soil blends and wood mulch materials. Their team is proud to provide services and products that help the Metro Vancouver region become a global leader in urban sustainability. 

 


Revolution is the only company in British Columbia with a fully integrated solution for de-packaging and recycling of all types of discarded food and organics.  They can collect, transport, sort and put your material to its highest and best ultimate use.  They can not only compost the material but also process it into sustainable feed ingredients and digest to produce natural gas.  Their unique Resource Recovery Parks in Surrey and Vancouver allow them to provide you with options unavailable elsewhere.  The Resource Recovery Parks in part allow Revolution to receive and process material mixed with higher levels of non-organic matter.


Contact: INFO@AForceOfNature.ca. An experienced consultant will be back in touch with you immediately.

Revolution Resource Recovery Logo.jpg Revolution Resource Recovery bldg image.png

Disclaimer: The BC Centre for Disease Control does not endorse any of the products or services provided by these individuals and/or businesses, and does not accept any liability for the actions of these individuals and/or businesses.

 

Rabbitats Canada, a non-profit rabbit rescue in Vancouver recovers produce from grocery retailers for rabbits in their rescue shelter. Rabbit manure is composted along with the bedding and given to gardeners for a small fee/donation.

 


Urban Digs Farm in South Burnaby recovers unsaleable food from food processors, distributors, and other businesses for animal feed. Opportunities for recovering food edible for animals exist all along the supply chain: whey from cheese making, vegetable trimmings from vegetable processing, spent brewery grains from microbreweries, close-dated yogurt, unsold bread from bakeries, and whole raw produce from retailers.  

  


Enterra is a Vancouver-based company that uses traceable, pre-consumer food waste from grocery stores, food processors, and distributors as feedstock to up-cycle the food waste to sustainable natural protein, oils and fertilizer used as feed ingredients in aquaculture, poultry farming and pet foods.

 


West Coast Reduction is a Vancouver-based independent 

rendering company that receives used cooking oil and meat and fish by-products from farms, feedlots, restaurants, butcher shops, super markets, and processors of beef, pork, poultry and fish products intended for human consumption. By-products are transferred to a rendering plant where they are processed into useful rendered finished products, including fish and animal feed, pet food, biodiesel, and soaps. 

  


Spa Hills Compost offers commercial composting to local businesses and facilities in the Shuswap and North Okanagan. They provide a pick-up service for compostable waste on a weekly basis or as needed. They supply waste containers with compostable bags and outdoor storage bins. 

  


Harvest Power helps the Metro Vancouver region meet its zero waste, clean energy, and healthy soils through its Energy Garden and Composting facility in Richmond. The Energy Garden uses anaerobic digestion technology to produce electricity – enough to power 900 local homes – from the region’s food scraps and yard debris. This facility is the first commercial-scale high solids anaerobic digester (HSAD) facility in Canada. The site also boasts a robust composting site: Harvest is a wholesale manufacturer of top quality compost, soil blends and wood mulch materials. Their team is proud to provide services and products that help the Metro Vancouver region become a global leader in urban sustainability. 

 


Revolution is the only company in British Columbia with a fully integrated solution for de-packaging and recycling of all types of discarded food and organics.  They can collect, transport, sort and put your material to its highest and best ultimate use.  They can not only compost the material but also process it into sustainable feed ingredients and digest to produce natural gas.  Their unique Resource Recovery Parks in Surrey and Vancouver allow them to provide you with options unavailable elsewhere.  The Resource Recovery Parks in part allow Revolution to receive and process material mixed with higher levels of non-organic matter.


Contact: INFO@AForceOfNature.ca. An experienced consultant will be back in touch with you immediately.

Revolution Resource Recovery Logo.jpg Revolution Resource Recovery bldg image.png

 
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