“Best Before” Dates on Food Changing to “Skanky After” Dates

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OTTAWA – Food labels will soon tell you the drop-dead date after which your bologna slices with pimento bits are definitely going to give you severe stomach cramps and make you gag and vomit.

That’s because food labels will no longer have the friendly “Best Before” dates that told you when your food was going just a tiny bit funky, leaving you the choice whether to drink the lumpy milk or pour it out.

The change comes about following an announcement today by the Harper government that $156 million will be cut from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) budget, meaning inspectors will check food in stores and restaurants much less frequently if at all.

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“Our Inspectors’ jobs will be less about inspecting inspectable foods and more about inspecting inspection reports filed by self-inspecting food manufacturers and food stores,” said Eldon Young, Ottawa-based Deputy Director of CFIA’s Safety Management and Lawsuits division.

One of the biggest cost savings will come from lengthening the shelf-life of many foods by changing from a discard date when the food is no longer at its best, to a date when the food is “excessively moldy, foul smelling or showing oily surface bubbling.”

Canned goods such as tuna will have one year added to their shelf life or “when the can bulges”, whichever comes first.

cheese-mouldy-copy-sizedEffective June 1, all food products that previously carried a date-stamped “Best Before” will carry a slightly larger, brilliant yellow “Skanky After” date block with a bold warning that reads “Do Not Bloody Eat This”.

“This is a much more useful date for anyone who eats food,” said Conservative Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney.

“And we estimate it will save more than $40 million in labour time previously wasted looking at things like Buttermilk labels.”

New regulations sent out to major food stores indicate the new labeling adds up to 6 additional weeks before some perishable foods have to be discarded from stores or donated to food banks.

Cheeses for example will be allowed to have “mould until said mould makes it difficult to tell if the cheese is cheddar or mozzarella.”

NDP Food Critic Malcolm Allen told the Ottawa Citizen that this change makes him want to throw up in a cup.

Terry Gallant
Reporting for The Lapine

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