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Old 05-03-2012, 08:51 AM   #1
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Partially Frozen

We were in a newer grocery store last night. I don't know how long it has been there, the new store smell had worn off but it didn't look like it had a lot of wear and tear. This was the first time I have been in.

In the meat section they had some small open top freezers, kinda like what you see in the big stores but much smaller and trendy looking. In one bin they had some interesting items. With the capons they also had rabbit and pheasant. It has been a while since I have seen rabbit in the store and never seen pheasant.

Anyway, while checking it out I picked up one pheasant and at first thought they were fresh, not frozen. I was kinda surprised thinking they just couldn't move them fast enough to keep them fresh. (Unless there is some holiday this week that is traditional to serve pheasant that I don't know about.) When I turned it over I realized it was partially frozen. The bottom was, the top wasn't. As I explored most things were frozen but a couple things were half and half. They all poked up over the edge of the divider in the bin so I suppose that is as deep as the cold air really was.

I mentioned this to a store employee and she didn't seem to think it was a problem but assured me that she would "bring it up with the manager".

I would think that if they count on them to be frozen for storage and they can't verify how long they had bits that weren't they would need to get rid of them. I can't imagine how this could be considered ok.

I might have to run by in a bit and give the meat another feel to see if they have done anything about it.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankZ View Post
I mentioned this to a store employee and she didn't seem to think it was a problem but assured me that she would "bring it up with the manager".
Yes. And IMHO the manager can eat all of that half-frozen food by himself...

In my Italian town in some places they defreeze food (usually fish) and then they sell it, but they state it VERY clearly. Never saw anything halfway.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:17 AM   #3
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We get "previously frozen" on stuff here as well. I don't believe they intended the pheasant to be that way.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:36 AM   #4
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On numerous occasions, I have found items that should have been in refridgerated/frozen section out on the shelves. Don't really understand why folks pick stuff up, later decide they don't want it and just throw it anywhere instead of returning it to where they got it. That is really low-life. What is even worse is that it will find itself back where it came from via store employees/management.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:48 AM   #5
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You're probably right about the pheasant. I don't see them selling so fast that they should be allowed to thaw. I don't think it's particularly dangerous if kept well refrigerated, but I don't like to see it in an open horizontal cooler where the temperature is highly variable top to bottom. My store doesn't have pheasant often, but the quail, rabbit, game hen, and such are kept in open freezers but are always hard frozen. And most of the shrimp offered thawed in the display has been frozen, but is always clearly represented as "FRESH" when it has never been frozen. I often buy the same shrimp in a bag from a freezer compartment. They just open the bags and thaw them on ice for the market display.

A lot of this is simply how much you trust your grocer. If you go back and find the pheasants frozen, you still won't know if it's the same ones, now frozen. Not really a health danger, because when meat goes bad, you know it. But it's not good food handling.

For that matter, the "FRESH" label usually simply means never frozen. I'm not sure that's a better thing in many instances. I do, however, like that my grocer occasionally gets Dover sole, and it's always fresh. I doubt such a delicate fish is unharmed by freezing.

Freezing is mostly purely a stock management tool that allows the food purveyors to keep and move meat in bulk without so much waste. We come to think of it as a matter of NOT FROZEN = UNSAFE STORAGE, but that's not true. Because cooking kills the organisms and inactivates E. coli toxins (and dangerous spores aren't affected by freezing or cooking, anyway), eating spoiled meat is more unpleasant than unsafe, and freezing is the ultimate delaying of the moment of spoilage. And you can refreeze to essentially stop the spoilage at that point. Buying thawed meat at the grocery is only a concern because you don't know how long you might reasonably expect to keep it before cooking it without it going to waste. But deviations from the norms of retail handling raises suspicions of their overall care.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:22 AM   #6
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Thanks FrankZ for the interesting subject, and thanks GLC for the informative post!
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