Advocates call for regulations to end food waste in Canada

It’s a shocking statistic, you would only hear in a wealthy and privileged country like Canada. More than half of all food is wasted in the country, 58 per cent to be exact. Those figures come from non-profit Second Harvest, which conducted a national study over two years ago and found more food is wasted than Canadians consume. 

As national waste reduction week kicks off, Second Harvest is calling for a bigger commitment to help end food waste. The call comes amid millions of Canadians struggling to put food on the table.

“We need to set targets because there is a direct correlation between food waste and the climate crisis,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest.

Nikkel told CTV News Vancouver that processing and manufacturing are the largest sources of avoidable waste.

Some companies have even gone to the extent of using ‘best before dates,’ giving consumers the impression that food should be thrown out after that date.

“Best before doesn’t mean bad after, it doesn’t really mean much at all,” said Nikkel.

The study offered recommendations to the federal government, including changes to crop insurance, expiry dates and avoiding buying in bulk.

“Policy changes need to happen now. We need to start measuring and monitoring food waste right across the supply chain. There needs to be consequences so that industry has to hit those targets or there’s a consequence. And the consequence doesn’t have to be bad, it could be a tax incentive,” said Nikkel.

Some industries are working towards the solution like Maple Leaf Foods, claiming to be the first company in the world to be carbon neutral. 

And Vancouver based start up Spud, an online grocery that tries to reduce food waste in many ways, including donating products that are about to expire to charity.

However, reducing food waste can also happen at home.

“It’s a good way to start,” said holistic nutritionist, Christina Wilton.

“Try to be as creative as you can with the food in the back of the fridge and make sure it still gets eaten,” said Wilton.

“Carrots in the back of the fridge that are starting to look a little suspect, can still be put into a soup,” added Wilton.