Decoding ‘Best Before’ Dates

Quest volunteer Florence did a little sleuthing and cleared up some misconceptions about best before dates. Read on!

I always find it tricky to decipher the “best before” date on a pre-packaged food item. Does “MA” refer to March or May? Is it the year first or the day first? Is the food safe to eat after the “best before” date?

As long as the food is kept in proper storage conditions, it should still be consumable and not thrown away. The “best before” date is an indicator of freshness, not food safety. Dry products, such as dry pasta and seasonings, are unlikely to support growth of bacteria and can be kept months (a full year, in fact!) after the “best before” date. Even the makers of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise say that their product can be consumed 4 weeks after the “best before” date, provided it has been stored properly.

So don’t throw away food that is completely edible! Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally and some of that food is perfectly safe to eat, as long as it has been kept in proper storage conditions. By understanding food labels, we can all do our part to minimize food waste!

Quick Facts from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Best Before Date
•You can buy and eat foods after the “best before” date
•Must appear on pre-packaged foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less
•Foods that have a shelf life greater than 90 days are not required to have a “best before” date
•Does not guarantee product safety, but gives information on the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened food

Expiry Date
•Found on dietary supplements and infant formula
•After the expiry date, the food may not have the same nutrient content indicated on the label and should be discarded

Format
•Year, Month, Day
•Months: JA, FE, MR, AL, MA, JN, JL, AU, SE, OC, NO, DE

To learn more see this CBC article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2009/03/26/f-bestbefore.html

General Operating Grants Received from Sook Ching Foundation and Marin Investments Ltd.

The Quest Food Exchange was recently the recipient of two generous grants for our general operating expenses. The first was from Sook Ching Foundation, who donated $5,000 and the other was from Marin Investments Ltd., who donated $3,500.

“We’re especially grateful for undesignated grants since this allows Quest to put the funds toward the area of most need” said Elizabeth Crudgington, Quest’s Executive Director. She continued: “over the course of the year many unforeseen expenses arise and having these funds is a real gift to the organization.”

The Sook Ching Foundation is a private foundation located in Vancouver that supports select organizations across Canada with an interest in education and health projects in developing countries. It also supports organizations which feed, educate, counsel, and set up health programs across Canada. Jessica Choo, President of the Sook Ching Foundation stated: “we’re pleased to help Quest with its general operating expenses; they are a proven organization with strong financial stewardship. We are confident that the grant will go in direct support of fulfilling their mission.”

Marin Investments is a Canadian, privately-held, investment corporation located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Marin manages a diversified portfolio of assets consisting of private and public equities along with a variety of real estate projects on behalf of its principal owners, the Young family. The company has grown and operated successfully since its incorporation in 1952. Current and previous investment assets have been located throughout North America with a weighting towards western Canada and the west coast of the United States. Marin supports and is interested in pursuing the expansion of existing enterprises, merger and acquisition opportunities, and management buyout activities.

Thank you to both organizations for their continued support!

Quest Video

Check out this video made by our Marketing interns, John-Michael Parra and Julie Petrynko. It includes interviews with agency partners, vendors, financial sponsors, and clients. Let us know what you think!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJdcbBuKcLM

First West Foundation Funds Purchase of Cooler for Surrey Store

Visitors to the Surrey location of the Quest Food Exchange will have better choices in fresh produce thanks to a $10,000 donation from the First West Foundation that helped Quest purchase a used walk-in cooler and freezer. The addition of this amenity will allow Quest to collect and store more perishable items on site, so that donations last longer and our clients will benefit from having fresher items to choose from.

Johanne Larochelle, manager of the Surrey food market says “the walk-in cooler has allowed us to reduce the amount of perishable items we have to compost because fruits and vegetables can be stored in the cooler until the shelves need to be restocked. She also adds, “our customers have noticed the increased selection and comment on the freshness of the produce.”

Quest was pleased to have the opportunity to show representatives from the First West Foundation the walk-in cooler and freezer in August.

Executive Director, Seline Kutan makes a point of visiting the projects that the Foundation provides funding to. “Right now it’s manageable to visit our donees. It’s a great opportunity to see first hand where the Foundation’s money goes and to get to meet the individuals involved in running these successful organizations.”

Ms. Kutan was joined by board members Lois Wilkinson and Peter Podovinikoff who were both impressed by Quest’s food exchange model, which not only addresses reducing hunger with dignity, but also offers important volunteer opportunities while fostering environmental sustainability. “Quest fits perfectly within our funding mandate to provide much-needed support to community organizations that are working diligently to lend a helping hand to people living in our communities”, states Mr. Podovinikoff.

The First West Foundation (previously named Envision Credit Union Charitable Foundation) was established in 1996 by the management and Board of Directors of First West Credit Union. Its purpose is to support initiatives that enhance the quality of life in our communities and to create capital for sustainable community support by encouraging philanthropy. Since inception, the Foundation has proudly distributed over $1.6 million in grants to charities.

For more information about the Envision Credit Union or the First West Foundation visit their websites at www.envisionfinancial.ca or http://firstwestfoundation.ca respectively.

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House Opens Up Shop for All to Visit


All are welcome to attend Kiwassa Neighbourhood House‘s third annual Open House. Kiwassa is a wonderful supporter of Quest’s programs, ordering items from us for their Family Food Bank on a regular basis. Besides the Food Bank, they work diligently to provide a range of low-cost or free services to people of all ages.

Located at 2425 Oxford St in Vancouver, the event runs from 3 to 7 pm on Thursday, September 15th.

Kiwassa originally started this annual gala as a 40th anniversary celebration. Since the event was enormously popular, they chose to continue it each year. Come and enjoy a myriad of activities for all ages! Whether you would like to learn to salsa or brush up on your hip hop moves, Kiwassa has you covered. Once you’re too tired to swing your hips, be treated to an Aboriginal drumming ceremony and a beautiful traditional Chinese performance. This year event attendees will also find pony rides and balloon animals, DJ lessons, a DIY button station, arts and crafts, and many other activities.

Snacks and refreshments will be provided, as will a celebratory cake.

For more information, call Jennifer at (604) 254-5401.