market sells refrigerated in broken refrigerator

A Mercado Extra store, located in the east of São Paulo, has been selling refrigerated products in inadequate conditions for at least two months.

The report visited the supermarket, in Ermelino Matarazzo, and found that items such as margarine, cream cheese and milk are arranged in refrigerators with two broken doors. Experts say the practice is wrong, and the consumption of these foods can cause illness.

Photos taken on the 15th, 25th and 28th of January show that the supermarket replenishes its dairy stock frequently, but without replacing the equipment.

Extra told the UOL, by means of a note, that the equipment presented by the report is undergoing maintenance and that the temperature measurement is carried out “constantly” and “strictly”. It also says that the doors should be replaced on Friday, 28 (read the full text at the end of this text).

Customers normally buy

Extra store, in Ermelino Matarazzo, east side of São Paulo, sells refrigerated products in broken equipment - Personal archive - Personal archive

Customers buy refrigerated food in unsuitable conditions on January 28, 2022

Image: Personal archive

On Thursday afternoon (27), retired Rosemeire Silva, 61, carried a shopping basket with few items, none refrigerated. She wasn’t surprised by the absence of doors. “It was always open, I think a glass broke. I’ve bought it and never had problems, but it’s open, it always has been”, she says.

The report heard from Mercado Extra customers that the equipment has been in this situation for about two months.

After 4:00 pm, the store was not busy, but one or another consumer would walk to the refrigerated shelf to analyze prices and pick up an item to put in the cart.

Quality assistant Cristina Navarro, 45, is a regular at the store and says she “never noticed” the irregularity of the equipment that preserves the quality of the products.

“I believe it’s a problem, you have to keep it closed, right? I’m afraid because you pay for an expensive product that could be spoiled”, he says. “I might even complain to the manager.”

“Committed Quality”

Simone de Carvalho Balian, professor of veterinary medicine and zootechnics at USP (University of São Paulo) and specialist in sanitary inspection of products of animal origin, says that the refrigerator model shown in the photos requires doors fitted and sealed with rubber, in order to keep food isolated from the outside environment.

She claims that the mere presence of a person in the supermarket aisle carries enough airflow to change the temperature of the products. She also says that there is a risk of pests, such as rats and cockroaches, having contact with the products, allowing the emergence of diseases.

“The longer the products are exposed [sem o equipamento correto], the greater the risk of compromising its quality. The flavor will change because of the increased microbial load.”

Consumption can cause illness

Extra store, in Ermelino Matarazzo, east side of São Paulo, sells refrigerated products in broken equipment - Personal archive - Personal archive

Extra sells foods like margarine and curd in a broken refrigerator for at least two months, according to customers. Photo from January 15, 2022

Image: Personal archive

Professor of Nutrition at UFG (Federal University of Goiás) Thaísa Anders Carvalho Souza says that the change in the taste of food can be felt, for example, after six hours with improper refrigeration.

“Even if the supermarket does a control, it’s hard to imagine that all food is within the proper temperature.”

Supermarkets also have doorless refrigerators, but that doesn’t mean the practice is incorrect as long as the temperature is just right, she says.

As they are industrialized items, Souza explains that the addition of additives such as acidulants and humectants prevents the rapid multiplication of bacteria, but does not eliminate their presence.

Type C milk, for example, is closer to its original state and more susceptible to faster contamination. Margarine and curd cheese undergo processing changes, delaying the proliferation of microbes, but not blocking them.

The consumption of contaminated food can cause diseases such as gastroenteritis, says Souza. The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

People with low immune systems, who are treated for diseases such as cancer and lupus, are likely to see their condition worsen and may even die.

In a note, the City of São Paulo, through SMS (Municipal Health Department) and Covisa (Health Surveillance Coordination) informed that the Extra supermarket may be committing a sanitary infraction, “if storage temperatures compromise safety and quality of stored food, according to the provisions of Municipal Ordinance 2619/11.”

What does the Extra say?

The supermarket says it monitors the temperature “constantly and rigorously” while the equipment is in “maintenance”. Read the full note sent to UOL on Friday (28):

“The network reports that Follow rigorously all food safety procedures in its stores, both those provided for in the company’s guidelines and those required by Organs competent bodies. The network clarifies that the aforementioned equipment is undergoing maintenance, a procedure carried out constantly and rigorously. During this period, the temperature measurement is done manually several times a day to ensure that it is within the required standards. Adjustments are being made and the doors must be replaced today. [sexta-feira, 28].”

About Yadunandan Singh

Born in 1992, Yadunandan approaches the world of video games thanks to two sacred monsters like Diablo and above all Sonic, strictly in the Sega Saturn version. Ranging between consoles and PCs, he is particularly fond of platform titles and RPGs, not disdaining all other genres and moving in the constant search for the perfect balance between narration and interactivity.

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