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'If it looks okay and smells okay, I eat it': Exploring if best-before dates are actually best


A move is on to possibly scrap best-before dates, to cut down on food waste.

The federal standing committee on agriculture and agri-food did a four-month study on rising food prices. It's recommending the federal government work with the provinces and territories to explore the impacts of ending best-before dates.

The committee heard the labels are misunderstood, they are not expiry dates, and refer to when the product is at its peak freshness.

For Beverley Grace, she has her own system to determine if the food in her fridge and cupboard is still edible.

"If it looks okay and smells okay, I eat it,” said Grace, “I can't afford to throw it away."

She has friends who go strictly by the best-before dates.

“I know some people who throw everything out and it's still brand new by my measure,” said Grace.

Harvest Manitoba CEO Vince Barletta said this recommendation from the committee is worth further review.

"We all know that we've pulled items out of our cupboard that may be a few months past the best-before date and they're certainly still fit to eat," said Barletta.

He worries food is being thrown out that is safe to eat or could be donated.

"I think we know that there is considerable food that is being wasted because of the best-before date issue and for other sorts of reasons."

There are also financial considerations.

Ed Cantor, the owner of Cantor’s Meats says the dates are out of his control and can have an impact on his bottom line.

“It does, I mean something comes in short-dated from our supplier we have to take the loss and just reduce it, half price,” said Cantor.

But research from Dalhousie University last year found only 27 per cent of Canadians agreed with getting rid of the best-before dates.

While Grace says something needs to change, she still wants to know the age of the food in her shopping basket.

“I think we need some kind of date on there because I don't trust people who hiked the bread prices on us recently,” said Grace. Top Stories

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