Store caught changing best-before date
Published Wednesday, January 5, 2011 12:08PM PST
Health standards at a B.C. grocery store are being questioned after an employee was caught on hidden camera re-wrapping fish with a new best-before date.
During an early morning undercover visit to the Real Canadian Superstore at 3000 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, a CTV News camera captured footage of an employee in the fish section selecting salmon steaks from the display and putting them behind the counter, where she wrapped them in new plastic.
But the fish didn't just get a new wrapper -- it also received a new label. Minutes earlier, the salmon had been displayed with a best-before date of Dec. 5, but when it was re-wrapped, the new best-before date was Dec. 9.
On Dec. 8 -- one day before the new best-before date -- CTV News took the salmon to Kevin Allen, a microbiologist at the University of B.C. The verdict was already clear.
"That meat is unquestionably spoiled. The smell is quite strong and rather unpleasant," he said.
Allen warns that what the store has done could allow dangerous pathogens more time to grow.
"As a consumer and a food microbiologist, this isn't what we want to see," he said. "Without doubt, at this point, in my opinion, this is meat that shouldn't be consumed."
Superstore declined an interview, but issued a statement explaining their policy is: "that when modification to packaging is required the original best-before dates are maintained. We have reinforced this policy with the pertinent store.... We apologize if there is any concern on the part of our customers."
Other grocery stores in Metro Vancouver told CTV News they don't re-wrap food or change the best-before date.
For more information about food safety or to voice concerns about how food is handled, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward and Mi-Jung Lee