KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) – While Canadian stores are being accused of inflating the price of bread during a 16-year price fixing conspiracy, those very businesses are under new pressure to reduce the amount of food they waste.
A petition – which has already received tens of thousands of signatures – has been launched asking the federal government to implement a policy to force grocery stores to donate their food to food banks, rather than watch it end up in a landfill.
Justin Kulik of Kelowna put together the petition after realizing a lot of products being thrown out are edible.
“A lot of it will be, for example, produce that has a little ding in the side of it, or a little bruise on an apple,” he explains. “A lot of it will even just be a box of non-perishable food that has a dent in the corner.”
Kulik claims these inconveniences are what push the supermarkets to throw out the items. “And in some cases, even poison or inject bleach into it to prevent people from taking it back out of their dumpsters and consuming them.”
He adds the dates you may see on products aren’t always indicative of when the items will expire either.
Imagine well-stocked food banks all year long. Petition calls for Canadian grocery stores to be compelled to donate edible food, destined for garbage, to food banks instead @NEWS1130
— Renee Bernard (@Renee1130) February 2, 2018
“The date you see on food products are what are known as ‘best before’ dates. They’re put on by the manufacturer of the product and it’s basically just an arbitrary line drawn in the sand by these food producers who basically decide when a product is not at its absolute ideal state. It suggests to consumers that if they’re not going to eat it by a certain date, there is no point eating it at all, but that simply isn’t true.”
A 2014 study found $31-billion worth of food ended up in landfills each year. Roughly ten per cent of wasted food is from the retail level.
France was the first country to adopt legislation, forcing grocery stores to donate edible food, and now its food waste has dropped to a third of other developed countries.
Kulik points out a Canadian province is also paving the way.
“Quebec even, as a province, has implemented a very similar program within the province. And to be able to say that something so simple can happen within one province of Canada, I really do believe they can happen everywhere.”
Incidentally, Kulik is only 16 years old, and attends Okanagan Mission Secondary.