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Food safety and food security


Food insecurity is one example of a health inequity that relates to environmental public health practice. Food security—access to sufficient safe, healthy, and nutritious food—is essential for a healthy life. Community food security extends this concept to include sustainability, community self-reliance, and equity of access as essential aspects of healthy food systems. 

Food insecurity increases risk for under-nutrition, poor school performance, unhealthy eating habits, and certain chronic illnesses, and over 8% of BC households experience food insecurity. Food safety and food security comprise two of BC’s core public health programs, and together they aim to support access to safe and healthy food. 

Information about food safety (e.g. food premises permits or food safety plans) and food security (e.g. community food security and healthy eating) in your community is available from your local environmental health officer (EHO) or population health dietitian.

Health Authority Food Safety Resources Food Security Resources
First Nations Community Health and Wellness Healthy Living
Fraser Food Safety Program Food Security
Interior Food Safety  Food Security
Northern Environmental Health  Population Health Nutrition
Vancouver Coastal Food Safety Program  Food Security
Vancouver Island Health Protection & 
Environmental Services
Food Security
Provincial Resources BCCDC Food Safety  HealthLinkBC Food Security

Click on the links below for information about joint food safety and food security projects at BCCDC.

BCCDC is supporting healthy food access and food security through: 

(1) ongoing efforts to align the Food Safety and Food Security Public Health Core Programs; 

(2) working to improve the quality of charitable food donations; and 

(3) exploring the role of EHOs in supporting food security efforts.

Read about this work here.

Click on the "Donation guidelines" tab to access information about the Guidelines for FDOs with Grocery or Meal Programs and Industry Food Donation Guidelines that were developed to raise awareness about the problem of food insecurity in BC and to support donations of healthy, fresh foods.


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.

A Food Safety and Food Security Liaisons committee has been set up to support communication and collaboration between food safety and food security staff within BC's health authorities. The structure and function of this new committee are outlined in this presentation at the 2016 National Educational Conference of the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors.


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