BBDs For Politicians And Nuts

Editorial Comment - Chris McKerracher is a columnist for the Pipestone Flyer

.

.

I was going to write about Jim Prentice one last time (I promise) and how I felt cheated he had a $500 “Give Money to the Premier” dinner on his way out the door last week. What irked me so was that he apologized to the PC party for being a colossal failure, instead of apologizing to Albertans for being arrogant in power and a quitter in defeat. His choosing to run away from the train wreck that was the past election speaks volumes and gives those who voted against his party instant validation. I get that perhaps no leader, no matter how smart, attractive or charismatic could have rescued the PC’s from oblivion, even if they were handing out their own twenties and fifties on the street corners of the province.  I even feel sorry for some of the better MLA’s who were tossed aside with the rest of the dynasty; Gene Zwozdesky, Verlyn Olson and our own Diana McQueen but we are all judged on the company we keep.

Instead of politics, however, I want share a surprising situation I encountered recently while buying snacks for work. At a local store, I grabbed a 100g bag of almonds and another of cashews, packaged by a national company with operations in many Canadian cities.

I drooled at the prospect of delicious nuts to provide quick energy during early afternoon when our bodies demand siesta; a practice usually frowned on around our office. Biting that first almond was hugely disappointing, however. They were staler than a Milton Berle joke. (Entire generations be like, “Who?”) Scouring the package revealed no best-before date (BBD), lot number or anything to identify this bag from others from this company, no matter what the vintage.

I was more surprised than angry. When grocery shopping, I’m used to seeing BBDs on everything; even soup and dried foods that last years. I can’t remember the last time I saw food packaging without identifying lot numbers in case of recall, but evidence they exist lay before me.

My workmates were equally perplexed and re-examined the package to ensure I wasn’t missing it. They found no distinguishing marks, either. I did find satisfaction in their failure, though.

I delved into the rules surrounding what needs BBDs (though not while at work, I assure you) and had Google swiftly locate a website with the government dictates regarding these dates and who must use them (www.inspection.gc.ca). The shorthand version is that BBDs are not related to safety but is an assurance of optimal quality, flavour and freshness. Foods are only mandated to have a BBD if they have a shelf life less than 90 days, although many food companies use them for all products no matter what lifespan they have.

Expiry dates, alternatively, are a safety initiative and only used on foods such as baby food, meal replacement liquids and such, that supply the only nutrients a person might get in a day.

Curious why my package of nuts lacked this crucial BBD which consumers need to make an informed  impulse decision at the checkout line, I sent an email to the company.

I received a response the next day from the firm advising me how sorry they were and if I provided my mailing address, they would send me free product to make up for my disappointing experience. I wrote back thanking the person for the response but pointed out I wasn’t really after hush candy but wanted to know why the packaging held no BBD. I also provided my box number. I’m not stupid, after all. Free stuff is free stuff.

The subsequent response advised that it is a concern and they are studying the issue currently. They added the cases which the unmarked individual packs come in, do bear a BBD.

I hope it’s true they are looking at this closely. In this day of nutbars tampering with products, being able to identify a product for recall is essential. There is another overarching concern, however. As a consumer, it is not fair to hide the point at which your product reaches it’s best before date. It may not kill me to eat them but it does kill me to pay 2.29 for a small pack of product that is inedible. It approaches fraud.

We should make it law that all packaged foods must have a BBD that is on every unit that a consumer can buy so they can make an informed choice about the products they buy.

 

Just Posted

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read