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Canadians are taking more risks with potentially unsafe food amid high grocery prices

As grocery prices soar and wallets feel the pinch, Canadians are navigating tough choices at the dinner table. A fresh report from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab reveals that nearly 60 percent of Canadians are embracing risk by consuming food nearing or past its "best before" date to dodge wasting it.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the lab and author of the report, flagged a concerning trend: more folks are chancing upon potentially unsafe food due to financial constraints. He shared that mounting calls about this issue prompted their investigation.

Their recent survey, spanning over 9,000 Canadians, yielded troubling stats. One in five respondents claimed to have fallen ill in the past year after consuming expired or close-to-expiring food. Charlebois points out a noteworthy trend: Gen Z and millennials are bearing the brunt, with the latter grappling the most with inflation and rising interest rates.

The root cause? High grocery prices. With households dedicating a larger chunk of their income to food, every purchase counts. Consequently, Canadians are scrutinizing their buys and striving to maximize every morsel, viewing food as a precious asset.

The report underscores shifting attitudes toward food safety and financial strain. As Charlebois notes, economic factors are reshaping our relationship with food, prompting a reassessment of risks in our own kitchens.

The methodology behind the survey is robust, with over 9,000 respondents participating in April 2024. The margin of error sits at around 1.92 percent, lending credibility to the findings.

As Canadians navigate the delicate balance between stretching their dollars and safeguarding their health, it's evident that the repercussions of high grocery prices extend far beyond the checkout aisle.



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