How To Handle Food Recalls In Canada : The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 #3 Apr 16-22

how to handle food recalls in canada-1



“Yet another food recall…” That was the same comment I expected to read by long-time Canadian Budget Binder reader when I posted yet another food recall in Canada on my Facebook page the other day.

Christine like many other Canadians stays on top of current food recalls and trends because she wants to protect her health and that of her family. When food recalls get published it’s important for the public to take them seriously and share them where applicable.

I received email notice two days ago of a Strawberry recall from the company Montana brand foods via the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). There may be products found in Quebec and some stores in Ontario that may be on the recall list.

I quickly found an online article which had already been put together by news media (I can’t beat them) and made sure to share it on my Facebook and Twitter page to alert my fan base and so-forth. Although I could have shared the alert from the CFIA it seems that news articles with photos garner more attention by online communities.


Food Recalls explained


Food recalls are taken seriously in Canada by the CFIA because food safety recalls can potentially be dangerous.

When I moved to Canada I never considered food recalls because this was another part of the Canadian system that I was unaware of. There is so much to learn when you move to Canada from other countries because our processes may differ or we may not have the same protocols as Canadian government agencies have.

I know that I always appreciate when my fans on CBB share their experiences and insights because they alert me to things I haven’t been exposed to yet living in Canada even though I’ve been here for 11 years. Let’s look at food recalls a bit more in detail and hopefully by the end you will have basic understanding on how to handle food recalls in Canada and continue to pass on any public warnings.

What are food recalls in Canada?

Most often a company may have found a problem with their products through their Quality team or customer complaints which then triggers a food process recall by the company. They must tell the CFIA who then step in and do their part in the food recalls procedure. Keep in mind that food recalls aren’t just Canadian products either since we import products from all over the world to our grocery stores.

When there is reason to believe that food is contaminated or does not follow federal regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) initiates a five step process to investigate and recall product if necessary.

A food recall is an action taken by a company to remove potentially unsafe food products or products from the market that do not comply with relevant laws. It is the responsibility of industry to remove the product from sale or distribution. – Canadian Food Inspection Agency

What is the role of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Canada?

You would automatically believe it would be to keep consumers safe and you’re correct. They are also obliged to tell the public about food recalls and carry out the processes involved with the recall to remove products from store shelves across the country. It’s a big job and certainly one that we all respect in Canada since it can affect all of us in potentially dangerous ways.

As a science-based regulator, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

  • helps protect Canadians from preventable food safety hazards, and
  • helps effectively manage food safety emergencies.

It does this together with industry, other government departments and agencies, and consumers.

This is the importance of food recalls in Canada where we as consumers need to help spread the word as quickly as possible to help prevent potential illness and other outcomes.

Not one food company is free from any safety concerns and even the tightest facilities for Quality control make mistakes which they either catch or is brought to the attention of the company from concerned customers. These customers could be the grocery store or consumers like you and I.

Other triggers that might set off an investigation by the CFIA would be;

  • Illness outbreak – Public health officials identify a potential link between illness and a specific food.
  • Food test result – Food test results obtained by the CFIA, industry, a provincial or territorial government or another country identify a possible health risk.
  • CFIA inspection findingCFIA inspection activities, such as visual observation of products and manufacturing practices or analysis of company records, detect a food safety concern.
  • Consumer complaint – A consumer complaint is received about the safety of a food product.
  • Company-initiated recall – A company informs the CFIA that it is undertaking a self-initiated recall.
  • Recall in other country – Another country recalls a food product that is also present in Canada.
  • Other triggers – Other triggers can include information from law enforcement about potential food tampering, trade complaints, information from consumer associations, or even posts on social media websites.

Source: CFIA


What food recalls look like in Canada


Food Recall Warning – Montana brand frozen strawberries recalled due to Hepatitis A

Recall date: April 14, 2018
Reason for recall: Microbiological – Other
Hazard classification: Class 1
Company / Firm: Groupe Adonis Inc.
Distribution: Ontario, Quebec
Extent of the distribution: Retail
Reference number: 12200

You can get access to a complete listing of all food recalls falling in Classes 1-3 including those that didn’t make a public advisory. There are also filters in the search that you can add just in case you are looking for specific food recalls or allergy alerts for whatever reason.

Below is an example of what you would see when visiting the food recalls page at the CFIA website which is linked at the bottom of this article. Another good reason to visit often is to make sure you keep on top of any food recalls that would affect you or your family whether they went public or not. If there is a concern you can subscribe to food recalls and other alerts via email notification as soon as they publish.

Food Recall Warnings and Allergy Alerts
Posted Recall Class Distribution
2018-04-15 Food Recall Warning – Buenas brand Grated Coconut recalled due to Salmonella Class 2 National
2018-04-14 Food Recall Warning – Montana brand frozen strawberries recalled due to Hepatitis A Class 1 Ontario, Quebec
2018-04-12 Food Recall Warning (Allergen) – Dong Won brand Frozen Shrimp Cutlet recalled due to undeclared egg Class 1 Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Possibly National


Recall Glossary


If you’re not quite sure about why certain food recalls and terminology there is a recall glossary that explains reasons for such recalls.

For example;

Allergen-A food product contains ingredients such as peanuts, milk or eggs that can cause adverse reactions in hypersensitive individuals.

Biotechnology- A food product is genetically modified by science that is not approved for use in food.

Chemical- A food product contains high levels of chemical or chemical residues, such as lead, mercury or pesticides that, at certain levels, can cause adverse health symptoms.

Extraneous Material- A food product contains material from an outside source. This can include harmful and non-harmful material, such as glass, hair or parasites.

Labelling- A food product has a label that bears an inaccurate claim that poses a health or safety risk.


Most recalled food products in Canada


Based on my observations of food recalls in Canada over the past six years I find products tend to vary from just about every section of the grocery store. You may assume that food recalls are strictly fresh products but products like canned goods and even peanut butter recalls have made headlines.

  • Frozen foods recall
  • Meat recalls
  • Dairy recalls
  • Fresh produce recall
  • Canned goods recalls


4 Things Consumers Must Do With Triggered Food Recalls


There are 4 Things You MUST do when there are food recalls according to the CFIA.

What To Do When Food Is Recalled is a pdf. version and infographic which you can share with your company, friends and family to serve as a reminder or to educate them on food recalls in Canada.

  1. Read the Inspection notice by the CFIA
  2. Check for UPC codes and other codes and dates according to the inspection notice on any suspect products you have.
  3. Return the products to the grocery store or throw them out (keep in mind you can get a full refund for the product at the store so keep your grocery receipts for this reason and for food budgeting purposes.
  4. Share on social media and Stay connected because further alerts may be issued on the same product that you need to be aware of.

As you can see food recalls are complex behind the scenes but also for those on the front lines and eventually the customer who has to follow-thru by checking their food stockpile. It may seem like every other day or week there are new food recalls popping up but I’d rather be safe rather than having to deal with food illnesses.

Discussion: How serious do you take food recalls in Canada? Would you follow the above 4 things you must do to remove products from your home? Perhaps in an upcoming post about Food Safety in Canada I will talk about and explain the types of illnesses and how to prevent them at home.

For Additional Information please visit – Information for Consumers- How Canada’s Food Safety System Works


April Grocery Game Challenge


Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!


Free Money Saving Tools 2018


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2018 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet -$0.
  • Checkout51- $1.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • 4 10% Cream $1.85 each
  • 3 x Whipping Cream $4.15

Total Out-of-Pocket $12.00


  • No Name Sour Cream $2.89
  • 2 x Large Eggs $2.47 $4.54
  • Nu Pasta $3.99 x 4 $15.96
  • 2 x PC white mushrooms 1lb $3.99-50% = $3.99
  • Avocado Bag Imperfect $6.99
  • Green Onions $0.99
  • Bananas $1.88
  • Apples Gala $4.19
  • English cucumber $1.29
  • Romaine lettuce $2.99
  • Reduced Yellow Peppers $8.67
  • Baby bok choy $3.31-50% $1.66
  • Organic kale $4.00-50%= $2.00
  • Strawberries 2lbs $6.99
  • 4 x Naturals Bacon $3.99 $15.96
  • 2  x Toupie Whole Hams $33.65 $35.05 – 50% $15.96 $16.83 stockpile $32.79

Total Out-of-Pocket $65.03

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $48.28
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $140 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $49.29
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
  • Total spent this week: $65.03
  • Total spent so far this month: $270.03
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over but still under
  • Total left to spend for the month: $28.97
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

Well we made up for our stockpile budget that we really didn’t use last month for this month. The hams we purchased are massive and for the price it was hard to say no. We have deli ham for a long time now. We did a bit of a stock-up this week. I think next week will be a sticker run shop with no plan at all besides milk, cream or eggs. Sometimes we do a shop like this and although it sounds scary we’re ok with that as long as we stick to our budget.



2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.


Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!  You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!


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  1. APRIL 16-22
    Yearly Budget for 1 Adult $2400 or $200/mo
    Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $200

    -1 pack 10 pc Reece Peanut Butter Cups $2.10
    -1 pack 4 Kit Kat $3.12
    -1 200g pkg M&M’s $3.12
    -1 can No Name Chickpeas $0.75
    -1 bag No Name Chips $1.02
    -1 PC Sliced White Mushrooms $3.47
    -1 bunch Parsley $1.27
    -1 bag Shallots $2.47
    -1 Maple Leaf Smoked Ham $4.97
    -1 Old Mill English Muffins $2.49
    Gift Card Used $
    Total Out of Pocket $24.78
    PC Points Earned 400

    -12 cans Campbell’s Mushroom Soup (@0.58/ea) $6.99
    -2.63L Tropicana Orange Juice $6.23
    Total Out of Pocket $13.22

    -2lb Carrots $1.69
    Bottle Return $0.15
    Total Out of Pocket $1.54

    -2 Cauliflower (@2 for $3) $3.00
    -Honey Belle Pears (@1.29/lb) $0.93
    -Heirloom Navel Oranges (@0.99/lb) $1.41
    -2 Organic Cherry Tomatoes (@2 for $3) $3
    Total Out Of Pocket $8.34

    Total Gift Cards used to date: $36.33
    Total Rewards used to date: $42.61
    PC Optimum Points Balance: 1755
    PC Optimum Points Redeemed: 0
    Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

    Checkout51- $6.95

    Total to spend this month : $200
    Total coupons used this week: $0
    Total coupons used to date: $0
    Total in-store discounts this week: $0
    Total in-store discounts to date: $0
    Total spent this week: $47.88
    Total spent so far this month: $73.91
    Total over/Under spend this shop ($50/wk): Wk1-2 Under $73.97 + Wk3 Under $2.12 = under $76.09
    Total left to spend for the month: $126.09
    Total Spent To Date 2018: Jan $217.46 + Feb $127.79 + Mar $124.18

    I had cravings for junk food… that’s all I can say lol.

  2. APRIL – Week #3 of 4- Apr 16-22, 2018


    •Total Grocery Budgeted For Year: $190.00 x 12 = $2,280.00 for 2 adults



    I had a temporary filling done last week and have an appointment for my cap next week so our meals are based on the level of pain I am experiencing over the next few weeks.


    This week the shopping is about earning RCSS points & redeeming a few gift cards. We didn’t actually spend any of our grocery funds at RCSS…other than the change I had in my coat pocket.

    We did however re-stock our soup supplies at Thrifty Foods while they had a case lot sale on. I am big on having canned soups on hand for nights when I don’t have leftovers on hand but I don’t feel like cooking. I keep Habitant Pea Soup, Cream of Mushroom, Tomato, Chicken Noodle, Cream of Chicken and Cream of Celery and Vegetable on hand – not to mention lots of chicken, beef and vegetable broth. 🙂



    RCSS – Pitt Meadows – Using Mary’s Card

    1 – 3 pack English Cucumbers $2.91 ea
    2 Cantaloupe $1.96 ea = $3.92
    8 tomato tomatoes $0.97/lb = $2.02
    1 Coleslaw $5.28
    1 Romaine $5.48
    2 Celery @ $2.46 ea = $4.92
    500 g Mortadella + + 200 Points per $1 Spent $7.88
    500 g Bologna + 200 Points per $1 Spent $5.95
    1 Iced Cinnamon Buns $3 + 500 Points
    1 Apple Mini Strudels $3 + 500 Points
    1 Dairyland Cottage Cheese $4.48 + 1000 Points
    4 Campbell’s cream of chicken soup + 200 Points per $1 Spent )
    4 Campbell’s cream of celery soup + 200 Points per $1 Spent ) $12.04
    2 Pickled Beets + 200 Points per $1 Spent $5.96
    2 French’s Mustard @ 2/$5.99
    1 Chipits $10.48 + 2000 Points
    1 Large Box of Freezies $12.98
    GST $0.80

    Total Grocery OOP: $97.09
    Less $50 Gift Card
    Less $20 Gift Card
    Less $25 Mary’s Loblaws Card
    Balance $2.09 << Paid from my pocket change

    ** Earned 9400 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    Thrifty Foods – Maple Ridge –

    2 cases Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup

    • Re-Stocking Reserve OOP: $13.98

    ** Earned 0 Air Miles on this shop **
    ** USED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $16.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **


    RCSS – Pitt Meadows – Using Larry's card

    1 Iced Cinnamon Buns $3 + 500 Points
    2 Large Box of Freezies $25.95
    1 Yucatan Guacamole $6.99
    1 kg Bulk Ju Jubes $3.40 << Not on the list but hubby decided he wanted some
    2 Meat Lovers Pizzas @ 30% off $7.00
    GST $1.62

    Total Re-Stocking Reserve OOP: $47.97
    Less $25 Larry's Loblaws Card
    Less $20 Cash found in the Parking Lot
    Balance $2.97 << Paid from hubby's pocket change

    ** Earned 500 PC.Plus Points on this shop **
    ** SAVED $0.00 in Rain Check Coupons **
    ** SAVED $0.00 Loyalty Savings on this shop **






    •Total Loyalty Card Price Reductions This Year: $149.14

    •Total Coupons/Rain Checks Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total Price Match Savings Used This Year: $0.00

    •Total More Points Earned This Year: 88 Points

    •Total Air Miles Earned This Year: 135 Air Miles

    •Total PC Optimum Points Earned This Year: 9900 Points



    $ 760.00 Grocery Budget JAN-APRIL


    ($ 600.38) Actual CASH SPENT



    $ 289.47 Freezer Re-Stocking Fund

    $ 222.59 Holiday Season Fund + $270 PC Optimum Points ($230 Mary + $40 Larry) + $10 Dream Air Miles + $50 Save On Foods More Rewards ($25 Mary + $25 Larry) = $552.59

    $ 699.59 Summer Season Fund

    $ 606.87 US Shopping Reserve

    $ 88.80 GGC Savings Reserve

    $ 0.00 Points Redeemed Reserve

    OUR CURRENT TOTAL UNUSED RESERVES ARE $1,907.32. This means the 1,761.30 that we carried forward from 2017 PLUS AN ADDITIONAL $507.28 that we have added in 2018, LESS $361.26 that we have drawn out for use in 2018.


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