This Frozen Publix Chicken Was "Never Frozen"

Reader Richard writes to tell us that he found the “never frozen” label hilarious…

“The chicken was indeed frozen hard as a rock.”

Shhh, you’re just imagining things. If the label says it was never frozen, it was never frozen. Pay no attention to all that ice.

(Photo:Thanks, Richard!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    That isn’t ice, those are freshness crystals!

  2. girly says:

    well, that poor label can’t make the market store the chicken in the correct place (refrigerator vs freezer) or ensure the refrigerator display is at the proper temperature

    I’m guessing that this was some error in storage, not labeling

  3. TCameron says:

    There is an asterix.

    * – Note: Never Frozen before or by the time of the attachemnt of this label.

  4. PinkBox says:

    Meh. I’ve seen this many times in different grocers.

  5. B says:

    I recently bought a “never frozen” turkey breast that had chunks of ice inside it. That was rather scary, but I was able to cook it properly.

  6. madanthony says:

    There was a grocery store I used to shop at that would freeze near-dated ground beef and sell it frozen.

    I’m wondering if that was what happened here – that it was fresh, never frozen chicken that was nearing it’s expiration date, so they store froze it and marked it down (in the original, fresh packaging).

  7. wesa says:

    A lot of grocers store fresh meat in freezers, then stock the refrigerated cases with the frozen meat which will then thaw in the warmer environment.

  8. qwickone says:

    @AlteredBeast: LOL!! I heart you.

  9. froggie79 says:

    @wesa: That’s pretty scary. Isn’t it that we’re not supposed to freeze meat that’s already been frozen?

  10. jordy777 says:

    I would say you are right on the money, when you notice the “SALE” sticker on the packaging.

  11. bohemian says:

    I see this all the time. More often the fresh is half frozen than thawed out.

  12. UpsetPanda says:

    There are fridges that are cold enough to actually freeze, especially depending on where the item is on the shelves. I wouldn’t be surprised if a shipment of chicken was frozen just a bit from being stored in a fridge that was just really cold. I’ve been in the chicken section while a person unloaded a shipment of chicken. I started digging around for a pack that wasn’t totally frozen solid, and noticed there were some toward the bottom of the box that weren’t frozen so I wandered somewhere else and came back when the guy was done.

  13. Skeptic says:

    Oh, that may not be “frozen,” that just “hard chilled”–an industry euphemism for frozen that allows them to say “never frozen.” The term you are looking for is “fresh,” which means “never ‘hard chilled’ or frozen”

  14. tph says:

    from what I understand, “fresh”, in the grocery store sense of the word, means that the food in question has never been taken below 26F.

    Actually, now that I’ve bothered to look it up, here is what the USDA says:

    The word “fresh” may not be used to describe: … 3. Any raw poultry, poultry part, or any edible portion thereof whose internal temperature has ever been below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. …

    So your meat can be scientifically frozen (i.e. below 32F), but still be “fresh, never frozen” from a marketing point of view.

  15. girly says:

    If more than 10% of the time your stores can’t transport at and then maintain the proper fresh temperature in-store, your right to sell meats with a label like that should be revoked (Publix?).

  16. @madanthony: I also vote for this as the correct explanation.

    (Oh cool, I can see my comments as I type them again. Yea!)

  17. windycitygirl68 says:

    After having lived in many large- and mid-city markets, I can unabashedly say that Publix is the BEST large chain grocery store in the country. They are clean, they are friendly, they CARE about their customers! They eagerly give refunds on anything that does not please you, even if mostly eaten. Only once did I run into the ice-crystal chicken problem, and the Publix meat manager assured me that depending on the temperature at which it goes into meat storage for distribution, icing can occur. Besides, they are so often buy one get one free, I can overlook the icing on one package every six months.

  18. jackdangers says:

    In the food service world meat isn’t technically frozen until it is 0 degrees F. So iciness can still be had in “fresh” meat items.

  19. Ben Popken says:

    Mike writes:

    “I am a meat clerk at a local grocery store and I am writing to let you know that all product that comes off the truck that is considered “fresh” goes into the cooler. That cool is maintained at -3 C. This is due to health and food safety specifications. Food can get ice on it anywhere ~+2 C. Frozen food is food that has been frozen all the way through. The second point is that the counter meat is stored on is maintained at -5 C because of specifications. I am not saying your report was wrong I am just saying I get a lot of complaints about “frozen” food that isn’t really frozen it is chilled. if food was stored at exactly 0 C it would go bad a astronautical rate and not be safe to eat. Thanks for your time.”