Canada's 'food professor' says empty shelves were issue before trucker mandate and has this advice

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Canada's 'food professor' says food shortages have been going on for a long time and has little to do with the vaccine mandate imposed on truckers.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director, Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Dalhousie University tells CKTB empty shelves at grocery stores across Canada have been an issue for a number of months.

"Things are a little more dicey since the start of the pandemic. In fact I've been seeing more empty shelves for months now."

He says some groups are using old pictures of empty store shelves to support a narrative they are trying to push.

"That's unfortunate because it's getting people to be concerned about food security, but they shouldn't. There are several factors impacting our supply chain now."

He says the vaccine mandate is a bit of concern, only because of food affordability.

"We are noticing trucking companies are charging way more to transport food up north. There are fewer truckers qualified to do the job, so you have to pay them more. Freight costs have gone up between 25% to 100% depending on what you are shipping and where. It's going to cost more to get food into Canada no matter what."

Charlebois says there are a number of other issues facing the industry including recalls, company strikes like one at Kellogg's, and worker shortages due to COVID.

He says produce prices are expected to spike, along with dry goods coming from the U.S. 

He expects things to calm down in July.

Charlebois says one thing residents can do is 'shelf-flation' in which residents buy 2-3 days worth of food at a time, instead of buying two weeks' worth of food.

"If you buy too much you fall victim to shelf-flation."