In Canada, most of the FLW happens at the consumer level (retail and household). A big part of food waste at the consumer level can be avoided. In order to mitigate the environmental impact of FLW, we should strive to reduce it, especially at the source level.
Reducing FLW is not a solution to food insecurity. Food insecurity in Canada is an income issue. People are going hungry because they cannot afford food, not because there is not enough food for them to eat. Canada committed in 2015 to halve food waste by 2030. In its efforts to accomplish its goal, Canada has implemented various strategies. Among the strategies, encouragement to donate food (tax incentives, liability protection, and safety requirements) and a food waste innovation challenge have been implemented. In order to accomplish the goal by 2030, systemic change has to happen. Policy regulation can play a key role in reducing food waste.
Food label regulations in Canada are confusing for consumers. The misleading labels result in unnecessary food waste in Canada, as most consumers do not understand the difference between expiry dates and best before dates. Food is safe to eat beyond its best before date, and it is not illegal to sell it.
To reduce FLW in Canada, a food label regulation change should happen. The regulation should force companies to provide clearer explanations to consumers regarding the meaning of the date included on the package (their relationship with freshness and food safety) as well as proper storage indications for all packaged products.
In conclusion, having regulations that create clear food-date labels will reduce food waste at the household level in Canadian households.