Grocery Store Employees Say They Are Taught to Tamper with ‘Best-Before’ Dates

An investigation found that retailers commonly engage in secretive tactics to make food appear fresher than it is
Grocery Store Employees Say They Are Taught to Tamper with ‘Best-Before’ Dates

Photo Modified: Flickr/ornello_pics/CC 2.0

One longtime grocery store clerk admitted to regularly changing the labels on baked goods in order to sell them.

An investigation conducted by Marketplace, the consumer investigation program from the Canadian Broadcasting System, finds that supermarket employees are taught to tamper with best-before dates on food products, posing a considerable risk to the general public.

Mohammad Saffari, a bakery clerk for many years at a Loblaws supermarket location in Montreal, for example, was regularly instructed to change the dates on fresh or frozen bakery items, like pastries and cakes that were “weeks or months past the best-before date,” according to Marketplace.

Saffari was even instructed to add topping to cheesecakes in addition to changing their labels so that they would appear to be freshly made. Further inquiries conducted by the show confirmed that a number of other stores, “both chains and independent,” regularly participated in certain tricks to make food appear fresher than it was, like marinating old meat for to mask the smell, and removing the mold from produce.

“I decorate it and I’m selling expired stuff for $13.99,” Saffari told the program. “I won’t eat this cheesecake myself. But I sell it to you.”

During a recorded conversation with his store manager, the bakery clerk is even told, “every store does the same f---ing thing,” because at the end of the year, “the managers [are looking for] their bonus, you understand?”


In an email statement to CBC, Loblaws responded by saying that an investigation into the matter has been “undertaken immediately.”