food prices canada

Food prices are so high that many Canadians are eating stuff past best-before dates

Have you found yourself ignoring the best-before date on that carton of milk or tub of salsa in the fridge in an attempt to save some money due to high food prices?

According to a new survey conducted by the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, many Canadians are doing the same.

The research lab found that over half of respondents (58 per cent) said they were "more inclined" to eat food past its best-before dates because of high grocery prices.

Among these respondents, 23.1 per cent said they "always" eat food past its best-before date or if it seems overripe, while 38.6 per cent said they do so "often," and 30.8 per cent said they sometimes do.

The survey also revealed that a significant number of respondents who eat risky food (48 per cent) were also uncertain about its safety and whether eating it would lead to illness.

Researchers also asked survey-takers if they experienced health issues or sickness they believed was caused by eating food that was past its best-before date, and one-fifth (20 per cent) of respondents said they had.

Millennials reported feeling sick more than other age groups and the study noted that this indicates the group may be "more under pressure" due to high food prices.

Nearly half of Canadians surveyed (47 per cent) said they had also changed their food storage strategies to extend the shelf life of products.

Over one-third of respondents (37 per cent) said that their food consumption habits weren't impacted by prices.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, director of the lab, said the survey's findings reveal a "concerning" trend of Canadians taking risks with food because of high grocery prices.

"This behaviour, driven by economic necessity, exposes a critical vulnerability in our food system where food security and food safety intersect," he stated in a release.

"It's imperative that we address these issues collectively to ensure that no Canadian must choose between economic hardship and their health."

The survey was conducted in April 2024 and had a total of 9,109 respondents.

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