Best Before tampering by grocery stores – is it fraud or is it a scam?

I’ve written extensively abbey scams and scamming in the past.

A March 15, 2015 CBC article is entitled: “Best before dates and expiry dates: 5 things you may not know: People often confuse best before dates and expiry dates.”

Best-before dates tampered with

A Nov 6, 2015 CBC Marketplace article is entitled: “Grocery store secrets: Best-before dates tampered with, workers claim: Marketplace investigation found grocery store tricks to sell old food.”

The article notes:

Supermarket workers are speaking out to CBC’s Marketplace about how stores tamper with best-before dates and how it can make food unsafe.

For five years, Mohammad Saffari has worked as a bakery clerk at a Loblaws store in Montreal. He says he was told to change best-before dates on fresh or frozen bakery items such as cheesecakes, muffins and pastries that were weeks or months past the best-before date.

Saffari says he was told to take cheesecakes that had passed their best-before dates and add toppings, so they would appear fresh.

He says cakes were then given a new best-before date and put back on the shelves for sale.

“I decorate it and I’m selling expired stuff for $13.99,” he says. “I won’t eat this cheesecake myself. But I sell it to you.”

[End of excerpt]

November 2015 CBC broadcast

To access a Nov. 6, 2015 CBC Marketplace broadcast, “Best Before: How supermarkets sell you old food,” click here >

A blurb for the above-noted link reads: “We rely on best before dates to make sure food is fresh and we don’t get sick. But how reliable are they? Supermarket insiders tell all and share common tricks some grocery stores use to give your favourite foods a second life.”

To access a YouTube version of the broadcast, click here >

Deceptive best-before practices (if this fraud or is it a scam?)

A Nov. 5, 2015 CBC interactive article is entitled: “How supermarkets change best-before dates: Grocery store insiders reveal the tricks used to sell you old food.”

The article highlights the following deceptive practices:

1. Grinding old meat with fresher meat

2. Dipping old meat in blood to make it look fresher

3. Marinating old meat to mask the smell

4. Replacing mouldy fruit on cakes with new fruit

5. Cutting the mould off fruit and vegetables and selling it in party trays

Why are these things done to food?

According to the Nov. 6, 2015 CBC Marketplace broadcast, evidence suggests that such practices ensure that managers get their bonuses.

The CBC broadcast also provides evidence that some of the above-noted practices place the health of consumers as risk. The broadcast features a biochemist who notes that some of the toxins that are present in mouldy food can cause cancer.  He notes that in some cases, the toxins can be fatal, in and of themselves. Given these facts there is no harm, I would say, in spending a little time viewing the CBC Marketplace broadcast, and reading the above-noted CBC articles.

So, is it fraud or a scam? I would say it’s a matter of semantics.


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