Shopping Discussion

Stores (& Corporations) that are REALLY pushing the limits of the "best before" date.

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  • Sep 15th, 2021 10:01 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2006
797 posts
592 upvotes
Ontario

Stores (& Corporations) that are REALLY pushing the limits of the "best before" date.

I noticed this rather strange trend lately. Companies that are displaying "best before" dates which are far too long.I saw another example of this yesterday, so I thought I'd share. I welcome any opinions.

I bought a loaf of D'Italiano bread from NoFrills yesterday (the 13th). It has a tag labelled the 30th. There is no way in hell that a packaged loaf of sliced white bread will last for 17 days. At that point, it would only be good for penicillin experiments or breadcrumbs baked in the oven.

This rather outrageous date explains why the bread I've been purchasing lately seemed stale. If they think it last over 2 weeks, then it's no wonder the loaf that I just bought with 7 days left seems old.

The other example is fresh chicken. I find this more disturbing than the bread: I was at a local Zehrs a while back and looking at the fresh chicken breast. They had always put a "packaged on" date label, but were changing to a "best before" label. I must have come upon the transformation, because while the entire counter had a "packaged on" date, only half of it had the new "best before" date. BUT, many of the packs had both! The problem is that those clearly showed they were putting 10 days on that chicken. FRESH CHICKEN DOES NOT LAST 10 DAYS!

I feel that corporations are choosing to take the risk and sell stuff for longer now. As anyone knows, they don't actually give a crap about their customers, only the bottom line.

There's a problem though when they are weighing the risks of hurting their consumers (chicken) vs. the cost of their insurance.

I'd love to hear everybody's opinions.

Cheers.
9 replies
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5087 posts
4042 upvotes
dollarsign wrote: I noticed this rather strange trend lately. Companies that are displaying "best before" dates which are far too long.I saw another example of this yesterday, so I thought I'd share. I welcome any opinions.

I bought a loaf of D'Italiano bread from NoFrills yesterday (the 13th). It has a tag labelled the 30th. There is no way in hell that a packaged loaf of sliced white bread will last for 17 days. At that point, it would only be good for penicillin experiments or breadcrumbs baked in the oven.

This rather outrageous date explains why the bread I've been purchasing lately seemed stale. If they think it last over 2 weeks, then it's no wonder the loaf that I just bought with 7 days left seems old.

The other example is fresh chicken. I find this more disturbing than the bread: I was at a local Zehrs a while back and looking at the fresh chicken breast. They had always put a "packaged on" date label, but were changing to a "best before" label. I must have come upon the transformation, because while the entire counter had a "packaged on" date, only half of it had the new "best before" date. BUT, many of the packs had both! The problem is that those clearly showed they were putting 10 days on that chicken. FRESH CHICKEN DOES NOT LAST 10 DAYS!

I feel that corporations are choosing to take the risk and sell stuff for longer now. As anyone knows, they don't actually give a crap about their customers, only the bottom line.

There's a problem though when they are weighing the risks of hurting their consumers (chicken) vs. the cost of their insurance.

I'd love to hear everybody's opinions.

Cheers.
This is not my experience shopping at No Frills, which is the same parent company of Zehrs. The dates on on many products, particularly dairy are usually pretty conservative leading to a lot of waste because they're worried about their reputation (not the safety of its customers). I would encourage you to ask the manager about the new practice with the dates. It may be an oversight or a new employee who isn't putting the date on correctly.

Also the more preservatives in a product (like sliced bread) the longer the shelf-life. Usually, bread will develop mold within 5 days or so (unless you freeze it).

What I do know is the food waste in this country is beyond disgusting.
Member
User avatar
Mar 28, 2008
212 posts
194 upvotes
It's better than I saw 2 pack of ham with 30% off and it had been expired for 6 days, ham didn't change colour but........questionable! Or there are some vegetables turned yellow and they didn't bother to toss than out, the fridge smells bad.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2002
6484 posts
1140 upvotes
Recently I was shocked by how long a partial loaf of white bread that I had kicking around lasted. I shouldn't be surprised. With all the preservatives they put in now the shelf life is becoming quite long, to the delight of store owners. Of course, after a couple weeks the bread is certainly no longer fresh, but there's no mold or other visible signs of any obvious problem so how can you complain? Put it in the toaster and it's like you just bought it.
Moderator
May 28, 2012
11414 posts
3706 upvotes
Saskatoon
I don't buy a lot of bread products, prefer to make my own...I do buy tortillas and it's disturbing to know they last for at least 4-6 weeks.

Chicken (and other meats) that's enclosed in an airtight package often does last longer (don't know if they add anything to it)...as opposed to the loosely packaged trays that leak meat juices everywhere. Some items have a really long best before date but that's assuming it's not opened i.e. feta cheese. It will get manky in less than a month if opened. I take it out of the brine and vac seal portions and it lasts for months.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
6809 posts
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Mississauga
Fresh pieces of meat sold in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) will last a lot longer than those loosely packed in foam trays.

Still, MAP or not I wouldn't let raw chicken sit in the fridge for more than 3-4 days before cooking it.
Deal Addict
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Sep 19, 2002
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Vancouver
Packaged bread uses preservatives. D’Italiano has Calcium Propionate. It's not going to mold any time soon.
Deal Addict
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Nov 7, 2016
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Ontario
Metro is bad for this. I've had to throw out more stuff that has gone funny from Metro then anywhere else to the point I rarely go there anymore...
·Ï¢årµ§·
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
17721 posts
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Eastern Ontario
I have always found Best Before Dates interesting to read & follow
(We ALWAYS remember to check the dates before we buy)

Long lead times … always catch my eye

Dairy items … like cheese, coffee cream, sour cream, Yogurts, and milk vary so greatly
Cheese weeks to a year
Coffee Cream often up to 2 months
Sour Cream & Yogurts … usually 3 or 4 weeks
Same with Milk

Bagged Bread Items … which we don’t buy much of (preferring Bakery items or Made here at home)
Are packed full of preservatives
As someone else said it takes a long time to go mouldy
Goes stale long before that happens

Deli Meats freak me out with how long they last … long before you buy them
Just sitting there behind the counter
Got to admit we buy less deli since the Listeria issues of 2008
And bagged deli … that’s beyond scary how long some of it states it will last
Never buy that stuff, ever
Fresh Deli if we do buy it’s just enough to consume quickly
Won’t keep beyond 3 days

We buy most of our fresh meats in value packs from Costco
Bring them home and repackage them into Ziploc meal portions baggies
Last time I bought Chicken Breasts, I was surprised that it said the chicken (refrigerated as is)
Was good for 7 days
I froze it long before that
But it did catch my attention that it wasn’t the normal stamped 1 or 2 days

Clearly something has changed in regards to chicken
Either there is a new additive … or it’s being packaged differently

And for the record … big food processing plants … those for chicken
Process chickens by the millions
Every Grocery Store / chain in the country is getting their chicken from just a very few sources
So whatever has changed … seems to have done so industry wide
So it’s gotta be closer to the source
Than to the Retailer
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 22, 2006
797 posts
592 upvotes
Ontario
Thanks for all the responses. I do appreciate the differing points of view expressed. I'll add a couple of responses where possible here:
hierophant wrote: I would encourage you to ask the manager about the new practice with the dates. It may be an oversight or a new employee who isn't putting the date on correctly.
In both cases I mentioned, the dates are not chosen by the store. Bread tags are attached at the bakery. The meat was most likely from Cargill.
mrweather wrote: Fresh pieces of meat sold in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) will last a lot longer than those loosely packed in foam trays.
MAP packed stuff is the packages you find with a single piece of plastic "glued" to the top of the foam tray. Examples would be Maple Leaf's "Prime" and Maple Lodge's "Raised on the Farm". This was definitely not MAP, as it has shrink wrap around the bottom as does most of the meat counter display. I agree the MAP stuff can last a long time. I won't buy that either because you don't know how old it was when it was packaged in the first place.
Spinner wrote: Packaged bread uses preservatives. D’Italiano has Calcium Propionate. It's not going to mold any time soon.
I agree that likelihood of mould showing up is slim (unless exposed to variations in temperature which resulted in moisture particles on the inside of the bag). After 2 weeks though, that is not going to be appetizing to use in a sandwich. Toast is is...
PointsHubby wrote: Long lead times … always catch my eye
I agree. That's why I made this post.
PointsHubby wrote: Bagged Bread Items … which we don’t buy much of (preferring Bakery items or Made here at home)
Are packed full of preservatives
As someone else said it takes a long time to go mouldy
Goes stale long before that happens
So in essence, they're taking liberty with the "best before" label. Sure, it's dry as crap. But you can still toast it...
PointsHubby wrote: Deli Meats freak me out with how long they last … long before you buy them
Just sitting there behind the counter
Got to admit we buy less deli since the Listeria issues of 2008
And bagged deli … that’s beyond scary how long some of it states it will last
Never buy that stuff, ever
Fresh Deli if we do buy it’s just enough to consume quickly
Won’t keep beyond 3 days
I agree with all these points. You're braver than I am though. I chuck it the next day.
PointsHubby wrote: Last time I bought Chicken Breasts, I was surprised that it said the chicken (refrigerated as is)
Was good for 7 days
I froze it long before that
But it did catch my attention that it wasn’t the normal stamped 1 or 2 days
Fresh chicken has always received a 5 day date (unless MAP).
PointsHubby wrote: And for the record … big food processing plants … those for chicken
Process chickens by the millions
Every Grocery Store / chain in the country is getting their chicken from just a very few sources
So whatever has changed … seems to have done so industry wide
So it’s gotta be closer to the source
Than to the Retailer
I'll finish by saying that I'm no stranger to this situation. I have spent the majority of my life in the grocery or food processing industry. I didn't make this thread on a whim. I fully understand present and past practices. The point is that corporations are willing to take a bigger risk to possibly sell us less than ideal food. Their "risk assessment" policies are the problem. They weigh the risk of what they're selling you, vs the possible loss of profit.

Again, I do have a bit of insider knowledge in this situation. Date tampering and extending has been going on for so many, many years. I've dealt with a wholesaler whose entire business was run around changing dates. You'd receive the cases with the exacto knife cuts where the date used to be.

Without naming specific stores, here are some examples: I've seen displays of RealLemon juice with not a date to be found (it is always printed on the yellow cap).

Try and peak into your meat department's door to see if there's a bottle of Cutex nail polish remover around. That's a meat manager's best friend. Why? Because it only takes one swipe to remove the date from packaged meat. I learned this the hard way when my first case of food poisoning came from a pack of hot dogs with no date.

Again, thanks for all the replies to everyone. Don't care about the internet points, so downvote away if you feel you need to.

Take care.

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