A local supermarket says it was forced to get rid of perishable foods, rather than hand them out due to a power loss in the area.
The ShopRite on Island Avenue in SouthWest Philly disposed of at least two dumpsters full of food on Monday.
“When I came in I saw piles and piles of cheese, milk, juices, ice cream, everything was just piled up in different carts and they were actually disposing of it,” said Jason Williams of South Philadelphia.
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Byron Daniels and other shoppers ran outside the store while the disposal was taking place.
“Sure enough they were dumping the food out, just shopping carts of it,” said Daniels. “Then when cars showed up that’s when I guess the manager said ‘okay start pouring bleach on it,’ they came out with bleach and started spraying bleach on the food.”
Jeff Brown, the President and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, released the following statement to NBC 10 explaining the decision:
Today, Monday October 31, 2011, a number of business along Island Avenue lost power due to a malfunction of a transformer, including the ShopRite of Island Avenue. The ShopRite has a backup generator, but it does not operate our refrigerated cases. This resulted in our refrigerated merchandise being out of proper temperature for more than the allowable time frame.
For the safety of our customers, we disposed of all affected merchandise and fresh merchandise will be re-stocked tomorrow morning.
Our mission at Brown’s is to bring joy to the lives of the people we serve, making this action the only appropriate response.
We appreciate our community’s concern.
Regardless, some local residents were still upset by the store’s actions.
“It didn’t look spoiled,” said Angela Thompson, a local shopper. “What really shocked me is they threw bleach all over it, none of it was expired. There was food that was still good, it was shelf-safe, vacuum-sealed food.
“When I was in the supermarket, the cheese was still cold,” said Daniels. “I had a 10 pound ham, still good, fresh, heavy, nice and cold.”
Management at the store insists that they poured bleach on spoiled food to disinfect trash containers and keep rodents away.
Thompson still wishes some of the items could have been salvaged for a local food pantry or shelter.
“There are people all over the tri-state area that are hungry and they were just throwing bleach all over the food,” she said. “It was just terrible, it was a sad sight to see on this Halloween evening.”