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Canadians more inclined to eat near-expired or expired foods as prices remain high: Survey

Half of Canadians believe inflation has forced them to take more risks with their food
Jillian Morgan, female, digital editor for Canadian Grocer
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Survey finds Canadians are more inclined to consume food close to or past its “best before date" as a result of inflation.

As food prices remain elevated, Canadians are more lenient when it comes to eating expired or near-expired foods.

Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, with Caddle, surveyed 9,109 Canadians about how they’re managing food safety risks.

Half of Canadians believe food inflation and higher food prices have forced them to take more risks with their food.

Fifty eight per cent of respondents said, as a result of inflation, they are more inclined to consume food close to or past its “best before date.” 

Nearly half of the Canadians who reported consuming potentially risky food were uncertain about its safety. A total of 48% were unsure whether they could get sick.

READ: Ottawa urged to look into best before date system in bid to reduce grocery waste

Twenty per cent of Canadians claim that they have gotten sick after consuming food that was close to or past its best before date. 

Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they are conserving their food differently to extend the shelf life of products, such as freezing bread and using vacuum-sealed containers.

Notably, many Canadians believe inflation has impacted food safety. Twenty seven per cent of respondents feel food is less safe than it was 12 months ago, while 35% believe inflation has had no impact on food safety.

"The findings from our study at the Agri-Food Analytics Lab highlight a concerning trend: as food prices climb, more Canadians are taking risks with their food safety. This behavior, driven by economic necessity, exposes a critical vulnerability in our food system where food security and food safety intersect. It's imperative that we address these issues collectively to ensure that no Canadian must choose between economic hardship and their health," said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in a release.

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