July 12, 2024

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 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates!

 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates!



 

 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates! What about food safety?!

 

Recently, the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food proposed a dozen recommendations, one of which is to change the policy on best-before dates to reduce food waste.

Experts say that Canadians’ misunderstanding of best-before dates may lead to excessive food waste, resulting in food shortages.

 

 

 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates!

 

 

A report from the House of Commons Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee on food affordability calls for the abolition of best-before dates in Canada because people generally believe that these dates indicate whether a product can be safely consumed.

 

Experts say that these dates only indicate that the freshness of the product has expired.

 

“There is a lot of confusion about the meaning of food labels,” said Kate Parizeau, a professor at the University of Guelph who studies food waste, on Tuesday.

 

“Many people think that the best-before date is the expiration date, but in reality, very few products in Canada have a proper expiration date.”

 

Generally, the only perishable foods with an expiration date are those with specific nutritional requirements that may degrade over time, such as infant formula. On the other hand, foods expected to spoil within 90 days are required to have a best-before date.

 

Parizeau said that food manufacturers and processors tend to put best-before dates on various products, but their usefulness is limited.

 

“I think a lot of people have the idea that the previous date is determined by scientists in laboratories to measure the number of days before the product spoils,” she said.

“That’s not how it works. It’s something that the government tells manufacturers they have to figure out internally, so it’s a bit of a gray area.”

 

Parizeau encourages consumers to educate themselves more about food safety so that they can judge for themselves whether the food has spoiled.

 

“Our connection to the source of food is so close. We don’t know when a product was harvested. We don’t know how long it should stay in good condition,” she said.

“So, if someone puts a pepper in a glass and sticks a label on it, we would say, ‘Okay, that makes sense. I can trust whatever is written on the label.’ Part of the reason is that we don’t understand how that decision is made either.”

 

 

 


Canadians are wasting “perfectly good food”?

 

The government report quotes Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest Canada, as saying that best-before dates lead people to throw away “perfectly good food” while many are going hungry due to rising costs.

In a report released last month, she said, “Eliminating best-before dates can prevent safe-to-eat food from being discarded and save Canadians money on their grocery bills.” The report recommends that the government investigate “how removing dates from food labels affects Canadians.”

 

 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates!

 

 

 

Food labeling expert Michael von Massow, also a professor at the University of Guelph, supports the abolition of labels.

“Because they are so misunderstood, I think there is some real value in getting rid of them,” he said.

 

Von Massow said it is unclear to what extent food waste is driving up costs, but in theory, it plays a role by reducing the supply of groceries and increasing demand.

“If we waste less, even if prices don’t change, our families will save money,” von Massow said.

“So, I think there is a perspective that if we waste less product, prices might change. But even if they don’t change, our grocery budgets will decrease if we waste less.”

 

The report presents 13 recommendations, one of which suggests that the government research the potential impact of abolishing best-before dates.

However, if one day Canada truly cancels the best-before date labels, how can individuals ensure that their food is safe to eat?

 

 

 

 

 

 Canada wants to abolish food packaging best-before dates!

(source:internet, reference only)


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