Social media user Gary Joe Ahrns went live on Facebook Nov. 6, showing several shopping carts and garbage bins full of items such as milk, meat and butter, sitting outside the store.
Ahrns slammed the company for throwing away food that hasn’t expired, while people are starving.
“They don’t let the employees have it. They won’t sell it to anybody else,” Ahrns says. “They’re throwing it away.”
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The man then questions one of the store’s managers, named Nick, about why Walmart is disposing of the unsold food, some of which doesn’t expire for several years.
“I can’t sell it,” the manager says in response to his queries.
The video, which has been shared online more than 232,000 times, resulted in the company receiving backlash online.
But Walmart insists that it had a good reason to dispose of the food.
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In an email statement to Global News, the company explained the store lost power for several hours.
“Unfortunately, due to a tornado that affected our store in Celina, Ohio on November 5, the food being disposed of was unsafe to eat after the store lost power for 14 hours,” the statement reads. “Per internal and health department policies, we followed proper procedures by disposing of the food.”
Celina did see active weather earlier this month. According to the Weather Network, several homes were damaged and eight people suffered injuries after a tornado hit the town. The storm even prompted a local state of emergency. Several vehicles and businesses saw damage as well.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says food stored in refrigerators is only considered safe to be eaten if power was gone for under four hours and the door was shut. It urges Americans to throw out food such as meat, eggs and leftovers if the temperature of the fridge rises above 4 degrees Celsius for more than two hours.
The FDA warns that perishable food inadequately stored can cause illnesses.