A Walmart shopper unveiled something that no food service facility wants the world to see. On November 29 in Chicopee, Massachusetts, they discovered birds in the store’s meat department, and what the birds were doing wasn’t enough to spark outrage in the area.
Food safety procedures should be the most important aspect of any store which serves it fresh or raw. Vegetables and fruit should always be changed out so the rotten ones aren’t all the consumer has to choose from, giving them no choice but to risk their health or shop elsewhere. Bread should always be wrapped so mold and mildew don’t grow on it in the public view. Raw meat should be likewise wrapped and various types kept from others to avoid cross-contamination and issues such as Salmonella and E. Coli.
The meat wasn’t wrapped when one Walmart shopper, Rhonda J. Kitchen, found it, at least not well. Much to her disgust, she saw wildlife eating away at the raw meat, and caught it on camera. Even worse was when an employee, on camera, came by to ward off the birds and collect the meat. According to Kitchen, the employee had then walked away, and the birds came right back.
It appears that the birds discovered all they needed to do was peck away at the thin plastic and eat as they pleased. Rhonda had posted the video on Facebook, and added that “I will never buy food from there ever again. I feel like the Board of Health should be notified.”
Mere days after Thanksgiving, this is not the kind of thing any food service business should be doing. People could get sick from whatever diseases the birds may be carrying, especially if shoppers don’t check the wrapping and make sure it’s sealed airtight. Some Walmart shoppers actually did get sick, according to follow-up comments.
Vanessa Galas had also seen the store’s lack of attention with their food safety regulations, according to Fox News in Houston. She had mentioned that only weeks prior, the store had kept spoiled meat on the sales floor after the freezer had stopped working correctly, or in her words, “went into defrost mode.”
When the freezers aren’t working, no sensible food service establishment would continue to sell food from those freezers. The responsible thing to do is to throw the meat away and apologize for the outage. Walmart shopper Galas said that her family had become violently ill and complained to the store’s Facebook page. She said the response was “snood,” and they were given a family pack of chicken as a replacement.
Viral Video Shows Birds Eating Meat at Walmart in Chicopee, Massachusetts – NECN https://t.co/KyC7nyQg25
— Birds Update (@BirdsUpdate) December 2, 2015
After the problems had been given light on social media, Health Department representative Katie Cyr posted an image of the store’s remedy. The image appeared to have plastic sheets draped over the product on the sales floor. Everything else outside the wall display was still as it was before, and Walmart shoppers looking for meat are allegedly now greeted by a wall display they can’t see, but portions are still open enough for birds to get into it.
According to Boston, 17 birds have been removed from the store so far.
The store has probably lost a lot of business after their alleged lack of care was revealed on social media, and it’s unknown if the bird problem has been truly fixed. It’s also unknown if the employee caught on camera doing “nothing” to solve the problem has faced repercussions.
The Chicopee Health Department has urged all further witnesses of the bird problem to call them at 413-594-1660.
Do you think the problem facing Walmart shoppers at the Chicopee, Massachusetts, facility has been resolved, or simply given a quick fix?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]