Tallahassee woman accuses local store of improper food storage during hurricane

Piggly Wiggly receives setting out a new shipment of produce post-hurricane.
Photo submitted by Jina Gilliam.

Citizens located in Florida’s Panhandle were affected by Hurricane Michael, some more than others. One store that suffered from more than a power outage was Piggly Wiggly on South Monroe Street. On Oct. 14, a Facebook post accused the store of not refrigerating their meat during the storm.

“I pulled a gentleman to the side that worked there and asked him ‘how did y’all keep this meat cold during the hurricane?’ He put his head down and replied back, it was in the cooler. I asked him if they had a generator, he said no,” Wasi Tormekia said in a Facebook post.

Roy Moore, owner of Piggly Wiggly, said the post’s accusations were false. He admitted that the store doesn’t own a generator, but claimed that all of the potentially hazardous food items were cleared from the shelf and disposed of prior to the storm.

“According to The Department of Health, the biggest food safety concern is the condition of potentially hazardous food such as meats, eggs, dairy products, cooked vegetables, and cut melons. Potentially hazardous foods are usually moist, non-acidic, perishable foods and must be kept at temperatures below 41°F or above 135°F for safety,” Moore said.

Moore explained the usual procedure that Piggly Wiggly goes through when in dire situations that affect their food supply for customers.

Normally we would have a refrigerated truck outside that would store some of that stuff.  We couldn’t get a truck at this time. So we destroyed it all immediately. We had a few items left,” said Moore.

Alley where the inquestion meat was disposed of. 
Photo submitted by Jina Gilliam.

Michael Ingram, meat department employee,  confirmed the post was a “hoax” and that the proof of the discarded produce was in the alley.

“After the storm is over, they go see if everything is good… We’ve been without power for what? Four to five days? But all the meat and stuff that’s bad, we throw it out,” Lazarus Green, another meat department employee, said.

“We had the back of the store filled with garbage and bad merchandise and it was causing a health issue in the back but I called one of the representatives and he assisted us in getting some transportation to dump that stuff to the dumpster but we absolutely do not sell any kind of bad product,” Moore continued.

The store received a new shipment of meat on Oct. 15 to replace the spoiled batch.

“We got absolutely fresh products. We got the invoice where they transported it to the store and we are ready to continue to serve this community,” Moore said. “Matter of fact, we’re feeding 500 people right now in the Gadsden County area today.”

There wasn’t any word on whether the store will take action against the allegations made on Facebook and Wasi Tormekia was not available for comments.