Meal delivery ‘ghost kitchens’ and ingesting microplastics: CBC’s Marketplace consumer cheat sheet


Food delivery apps are popular with consumers, but not very profitable for restaurants. (CBC)

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Meal delivery apps and ‘ghost kitchens’

Ever wonder why some restaurants refuse to offer delivery using apps like Uber Eats, Foodora or SkipTheDishes? Owners say they can barely make a profit. Platforms grab a 20 to 30 per cent commission off every sale and some chefs say outsourcing delivery puts the quality of your food at risk. Meanwhile, others are capitalizing on the delivery app trend and running “ghost kitchens” — commercial kitchens that exist only to fill orders from apps. Our investigation looked at this issue and more: What are you really buying into when you order from an app?

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The consumer vs. telecom carriers

The federal government says it has heard your complaints: high-speed internet and wireless data are too expensive. That’s what Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told telecom service providers at an industry conference this week. But the companies say Canadian prices can’t be compared to those in other parts of the world because of our geography and sparse populations.

The 3,500 megahertz band of wireless spectrum will be integral to data heavy 5G networks. (Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters)

How many microplastics are you ingesting?

Microplastics may end up in your food, drinks and even the air you breathe. A new study from the University of Victoria estimates a person’s average microplastic consumption is likely between 70,000 and 121,000 particles per year. If you drink a lot of bottled water, that could jump by up to 100,000 particles per year.

Microplastics are pieces of plastic that are just under five millimetres in diameter — or smaller than the size of a sesame seed — that come from the degradation of larger plastic products or the shedding of particles from water bottles, plastic packaging and synthetic clothes. The health consequences of microplastics entering the human body are still largely unknown. Last year, we tested popular brands of bottled water for microplastics. Check out the results, and watch the full story.

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These companies help pay for your vacations

What if your employer didn’t just give you paid time off, but actually gave you extra money to help pay for a vacation? That’s what some Canadian companies are doing through an employer-matched savings tool. It’s similar to an RRSP-matching program, but Vacation Fund’s co-founder says most companies are doing a 50 per cent match on people’s contributions.

Kaitlyn Ward, an account manager for communications agency Eighty-Eight, saved for a recent vacation to France and Italy with help from her employer. The company is a client of Toronto benefits company Vacation Fund, which runs an employer-matched payroll deduction program for holiday savings. Ward is pictured next to the Seine River in Paris. (Supplied by Kaitlyn Ward)

What else is going on?

Air Canada imposes a “no fly” ban and demands more than $18,000 from a woman after uncovering a ticket scam. Ann Qian says she unknowingly bought fraudulently obtained airline tickets online and claims she’s being treated like a criminal by Air Canada. An Air Canada spokesperson refused to comment on the case, but suggested customers protect themselves by buying tickets directly from the airline’s website, call centre or through an official travel agent.

Beyond the iPhone: Apple shows off new software as it attempts to diversify. Apple has already phased out iTunes from the iPhone and iPad, and now it’s expected to do the same on the Mac and other personal computers.

An Edmonton mom is warning others about a Fisher-Price soothing seat after her baby got stuck. Health Canada officials say the soothing seat is not intended for sleep.

The latest in recalls

The following recalls have been issued by Health Canada:

These Daesang brand rice seasoning mixes contain egg, milk, oyster, soy and wheat that are not declared on the label; this France Délices brand Choco-Raspberry Crunchy could contain raspberries contaminated with norovirus; this Evenflo Pillo Napper does not meet the requirements for bassinets under the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations; this Small Stratton Pendant light fixture could pose an impact hazard; this TINGI super glue is not packaged in a child-resistant container; these Ion Audio portable speakers could pose an explosion hazard; this MyChopChop brand “Grounded Peper” could be contaminated with salmonella; these baby sleep bags do not meet flammability requirements of the Children’s Sleepwear Regulations; these Apricot Power products could cause cyanide poisoning; these AC wall plug adapters included in the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit could pose a risk of electrical shock.

Credit score confusion?

You can get your credit score for free, or you can pay for it. The information used to be a secret, but now it’s widely available. Marketplace wants to hear about your experiences with credit score services.

Contact if you have a story you think we should know about.

What should we investigate next?

Our television season has wrapped, but you can catch up on previous Marketplace investigations on CBC Gem. From scams, misleading marketing claims, to products and services that could put your health at risk, we are working on bringing you brand new investigations this fall. If you have a story you think we should be covering, email us at

-The Marketplace team


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