loblaws ontario

Unusual sign spotted in Ontario grocery store meat aisle is raising eyebrows

As consumers in Ontario and across Canada become hyper-cognizant of how much they may be [over]paying for basic staples, more and more are demanding further accountability from the nation's supermarket giants and calling many of their practices into question.

Meat has been the subject of countless complaints regarding both price and quality — including when Loblaw stores started labelling some beef as "ungraded" earlier this year — and a new qualm has residents now worrying about the safety of the product, too.

A photo from one shopper that was shared to X by grocery pundit Dr. Sylvain Charlebois went a little viral over the weekend, showing a sign in one unnamed Ottawa store's meat department that many are finding suspect.

"The ground meats in this display have been produced using fresh and frozen meat," the poster reads, with Charlebois asking if others had ever seen a similar PSA in their local store before.

Dozens of people have commented expressing concern, calling the practice of mixing ground fresh and frozen beef "wrong on all levels" as far as food safety is concerned and writing that they "would never buy this meat."

"That doesn't sound hygienic or legal, not because it's bad, but you must have to treat it as previously frozen," one person noted.

Others suggested that the packages in question should be further discounted and marked with a "consume today" sticker, while some felt that the store should have to provide detailed warning labels about potential food poisoning hazards as "it's important to know if the meat you are buying has been frozen before."

"Is that even safe? You can't refreeze thawed meat," another said in the discussion, to which Charlebois replied with a link to a Canadian Food Inspection Agency page that indeed advises against refreezing already frozen meat.

"Once food has been completely defrosted, don't re-freeze it. You can re-freeze partly defrosted food only if it still has ice crystals on its surface," reads the authority's page.

A few individuals seemed unfazed by the signage, saying they'd seen something similar like it before, whether on a poster or on product packaging.

One remarked that though they'd spotted a similar PSA on a pack of steaks, it was something they'd never heard of until this year.

Charlebois himself also stated that though he had known of the concept of mixing fresh and frozen meats, he'd never seen such a message on "a large sign like this before."

This isn't the first time in recent memory that a weird sign at an Ontario retailer has caused some hubbub — last year, Toronto staff at Food Basics and Home Depot had to install notices asking customers not to do things like eat produce while shopping and step into shower displays.

Lead photo by

Jacquie Klose/Shutterstock used for illustrative purposes only

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