Looking for ways to reduce food waste

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MELFORT, Sask. – Trips to the grocery store are more and more expensive.

Statistics Canada reported the Consumer Price Index for Food was up 10.6 per cent year-over-year in February. That was the seventh straight month with a double-digit increase.

Supply constraints, unfavourable weather in growing regions and higher input costs for energy, packaging materials and animal feeds were responsible.

The greatest increases in food cost were for fruit juices which were up 15.7 per cent, cereal products 14.8 per cent, vegetables 13.0 per cent, dairy products 9.4 per cent and meat up 6.2 per cent.

Making sure that expensive food doesn’t go to waste was discussed at yesterday’s Commons Agriculture Committee meeting yesterday.

Nearly 60 per cent of food produced in Canada, or 35.5 million tonnes, is lost and wasted annually. Roughly 11.2 million tonnes of that food is edible and could be redirected to people in need. The financial value of this rescuable lost and wasted food worth $49.46 billion.

The non-profit food rescue organization has a mission to redistribute surplus food.

Second Harvest CEO Lori Nikkel told the committee “Best Before Date” labels should be eliminated from food sold in grocery stores and supermarkets.

“Best before dates are wildly, wildly misunderstood,” Nikkel said. “They are not expiry dates, they refer to a product’s peak freshness so while Canadians struggle to put food on the table, they’re also convinced that best before dates are about safety and will throw away perfectly good food to protect themselves or their families.”

Nikkel said eliminating best before dates would prevent safe consumable food from being thrown out saving Canadians money on their grocery bills.

“While the issues of food affordability and growing food insecurity are complex and require long term solutions to resolve, there is more that we can do right now to ensure that millions of vulnerable Canadians are not going hungry,” she said.

Nikkel is also called on the federal government to bring back the emergency food security fund which will implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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