Post Blackout Grocery Shopping

Well, those that know me here know I’m in southeast Michigan, and probably know that like a lot of the country we’ve been in this silly blackout. It’s over today for us, but parts of the city are still lacking light and sometimes water.

Tomorrow’s supposed to be grocery day. It’s a once a month affair (no kids, plenty of room, run to the pharmacy for milk and Labatt a couple times times in between).

So, the power’s coming back on in stages. Luckily nothing in our freeze became unfrozen. The fridge gave warm but unspoiled milk, and yielded suddenly sharper monterrey jack cheese. Nothing dangerous.

But what about the grocery store? How the heck do I make sure they’re not trying to pull a fast one by selling spoilt milk, rotten (frozen) meat, or sourer sour cream? Once the meat’s in my own freezer, it may be up to a month or two before we use it.

Should we just stick to veggies and dry goods for a couple weeks?

I’d steer clear of the seafood for a little bit.

And now that I think about that (great thing to do after you’ve posted a reply), I’d WAG that seafood by its nature is actually on a quicker refresh cycle than most other stuff in normal circumstances. So, forget what I said before.

I had a few steaks in the freezer, that defrosted and have started to refrost. I don’t know if they even made room temperature, but my juice was out 24 hours, should I eat them?

Also remember that the last thing in the world any major store wants is to have a huge number of customers get sick on them in a way that will be sure to create massive publicity followed by massive lawsuits.

When Memphis was going through its LONG power outage a few weeks ago, friends of mine(I know that sounds like friends of a friend, but I swear they’re nice, responsible people…) swore that the cold items in their part of the city was the same stuff that had been there before the blackout, same expiration date, etc. So just be a little more wary I suppose.

Where I used to live, a chain warehouse-type grocery store where a lot of Hispanic people shopped used to routinely sell outdated food. They may still be doing it for all I know. There are a lot of people there who come to the area to pick fruit and don’t speak English, so the store could get away with it. It doesn’t seem that they were terribly concerned about lawsuits.

I don’t see why not. They have only aged a few hours. It is a myth that you should not refreeze food.

Here’s a handy
"]food spoilage guide from the University of Illinois that might help.

I’ve always read that refreezing meat that had thawed but was kept refridgerated is not a health hazard, but it will not have quite the same texture as before. Can’t turn up a cite on it, but the seafood entries in the link I provided show that at least that stuff loses texture.

Ugh, that didn’t work.
Here’s a HTML version:

Here’s the PDF link:

Ach! This is kind of what worries me. We usually go to downtown Detroit’s Mexican Town to shop (specialty items our Meijer stores just don’t have). This isn’t the touristy restaurant area. It’s the barrio. Full of immigrants. People that may no nothing about lawsuits, that don’t realize we’re lawsuit-landia.

Dammit, this board hates Google-cached HTML version URLs. If you need it in HTML format, hit Google and search for “meat refreeze texture” and look for a reputable source. I saw some universities and the CDC listed on the first page when I searched, though there were a lot of .pdf documents.

Hope I’m not wrong, but I’m assuming my stuff is okay on the basis that my ice cubes didn’t melt. I had a batch of loose ice cubes in a tray. They were a little bit sticky, but no water at the bottom of the tray; none at all.

I’ve heard that things stay cold a long time, so long as you don’t open the door. Seems to be true?

I want to give a big cheer to the local ShopRite, a grocery story with enough sense to have their own backup generator! They were doing good business on Thursday night.