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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2010 Dec;7(12):1457-62. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2010.0580. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

Specialty food safety concerns and multilingual resource needs: an online survey of public health inspectors.

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Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


The province of Ontario, Canada, has a highly diverse and multicultural population. Specialty foods (i.e., foods from different cultures) are becoming increasingly available at retail food outlets and foods service establishments across the province; as a result, public health inspectors (PHIs) are increasingly required to assess the safety of foods with which they may be unfamiliar. The aim of this study was to investigate the concerns, perceptions, and self-identified needs of PHIs in Ontario with regard to specialty foods and food safety information resources in languages other than English. A cross-sectional online survey of 239 PHIs was conducted between April and June 2009. The study found that while some food safety information resources were available in languages other than English, fewer than 25% of respondents (56/239) were satisfied with the current availability of these resources. With regard to specialty foods, 60% of respondents (143/239) reported at least one specialty food with which they were not confident about their current food safety knowledge, and 64% of respondents (153/239) reported at least one specialty food with which they were dissatisfied with the current availability of food safety information. Therefore, the development of additional food safety information resources for specialty foods, and food safety resources in additional languages may provide enhanced support to PHIs involved in protecting and promoting a safe food supply.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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