Ex-Superstore workers claim they changed dates, too
After an investigation revealed a B.C. grocery store changing the best-before date on fish, former Superstore employees have come forward to claim that it wasn't the first time this happened.
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 re-wrapping salmon steaks and giving them a new best-before date.
Superstore says employee are not allowed to change best-before dates and are required to sign a policy stating as much when they're hired. The store says they're also required to review and re-sign on a regular basis.
Former Langley Superstore employee Sylvia Taylor claims that changing best-before dates isn't something new for the grocery chain. She worked in the deli department during the 1990s.
"Part of our duties, as directed by our manager, was to check our meat packages in the display cases for their best-before dates. If they were expired, we were to pull the meats, open up the packages, smell them, and if they smelled okay, we re-wrapped them and put a new best-before date, extending usually by about five days," she told CTV News.
"When we were told to change the best-before dates, I stopped buying any meat products from the Real Canadian Superstore."
Jason Paxton claims he had a similar experience when he worked in the seafood department at the Duncan Superstore.
"Every time the meat was re-packed, the best-before date was changed," he said.
"The majority of it we could wash off, re-package it and get a couple of more days out of it."
Paxton says he has since told his friends not to shop at Superstore.
That news may make shoppers cringe, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there are no laws against changing the best-before dates on packaged food.
"If they change the best-before date, there may not be anything wrong with it, and maybe no legislative issue with us. Ultimately, they have to answer to you, the consumer," the CFIA's Ken Randa said.
Superstore sent a statement in response to the former employees' claims.
"To clarify, re-wrapping is a common industry practice and is done for a number of reasons including a change in the price of the product, compromised packaging or for presentation," the company said.
"Customers can be assured that we have a policy in place requiring that on an occasion that modification to packaging is required, the original best-before dates are maintained. Our policy and processes comply with CFIA regulations. The policy states that ‘The original best-before date or packed-on date must remain on the product/package at all times.'"
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee and Jon Woodward