Recall These Thoughts

Just slap a new sticker on it!

From the CBC:

He said that every morning, before the store opens, packaged meats are taken from the shelves and sometimes repackaged, complete with a new date.

When the product is expired, when it’s three days old, we check to see if it looks OK and smells OK. Then we repackage it, and put it back on the shelf,’ he said.

This is such a ridiculous practice I can’t imagine why any retailer would even want to take the risk.  The CBC found considerably higher quantities of bacteria than is acceptable for human consumption, and that was with testing fairly close in time to purchasing the meat. If a consumer had purchased it and left it in the fridge over night or even on the counter for an hour the situation would be even more dire. 

By far my favourite part:

Sobeys said it uses the services of a private company to inspect its facilities and undergoes ministry inspections.

This is all well and good, but bacteria are ubiquitous. I am sure that the butchering facilities at IGA stores is perfectly clean (on inspection day at least). Certainly cleaner than any time in the past. But the problem isn’t the presence of bacteria alone, its the extended period of time those bacteria have had, and will continue to have, to reproduce in car, fridge, and counter of consumers. A grocer can audit their facilities until the cows come home, do surface and environmental tests for bacteria and so on, and come out okay. The butchers aren’t going to repackage expired chicken thighs in front of the auditor. Third-party testing isn’t really an issue here. What is at issue is some strange willingness to deliberately expose consumers to a much higher level of risk than would be considered normal without their prior knowledge, and expose the grocer and butcher to liability if something were to go wrong. The comments from Sobey’s management suggests they are either unwilling to talk about a very real problem, are in denial, or have missed the point completely.