Focus groups are seen as important tools in qualitative research for evaluating projects aimed at articulating social networks and movements. Six focus groups were held as one of the stages in research as part of the Food Safety and Sustainable Nutrition Project (SANS). This social network articulates the academic world with social movements and government in defense of the human right to suitable nutrition. This report is aimed at discussing the experience of applying focus groups to the investigation of perceptions by health professionals of activities related to food and nutrition in basic health care. These groups made it possible to bring together 52 professionals from 13 municipalities in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, and they exchanged experiences and debated issues related to food safety in the area of health care. The group discussions identified eating, nutrition vigilance and intersectoriality as emerging topics. The focus group technique proved to be a suitable tool for investigating the topic quickly and in depth, with a large number of professionals working in different contexts. In fact, the discussions went beyond the objectives of the research, since the group work made it possible to strengthen the process of articulation carried out by a network that promoting local measures in food safety and sustainable nutrition.
focal groups; primary health care; food and nutrition security; nutrition programs and policies