WARNING! Be wary of meat purchased at BJ's Wholesale Club. My story....

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bostonbbq, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. Hey all,

    I haven't posted here much recently since smoking a few ribs and shoulders over the summer. However, this weekend here in Boston was going to be in the 80's so I decided to give another pork butt shoulder a try. I went to what I thought was my "trusted source" of BJ's Wholesale Club to pick up an 8-lb butt.

    I thought to myself, hey....it's only $1.09 a lb, what a deal! I picked up an 8-lb piece and immediately took it home to begin the rub process. My g/f ended up opening the package to discover a strange, funky smell coming from the meat. Yep, it was bad.....and I have the evidence to prove exactly why it was bad and how BJ's could really hurt others with their uuhhmm "policy" of putting new dates on meat.

    I was going to rub the meat the night before and it was after 10 PM when I started and BJ's had already closed. This was Saturday night so we woke up the next day and decided to immediately take it back after looking over the evidence in front of us. What had happend was, on the vaccum sealed wrapper itself had a date of USE BY SEPTEMBER 26, 2007. Thankfully, we had saved both the cryovac and the receipt so we had evidence of when it was purchased (October 6th), when they said it was going to be good for (until October 11th??) and the date of Sept. 26th on the cryovac packaging.

    Selling NON-FROZEN meat 10 days later is not only unsafe, but immoral and can really hurt your customers! On top of that, we bought this when the date on the BJ's sticker had been changed to say it was good for another FIVE DAYS! I can't imagine what this could have smelled like another few days out....

    So Sunday morning we get to BJ's about 10 AM, throw the meat on the counter, say that it was purchased just the night before and dare the customer service lady to smell the meat that was double-bagged. She's like, "no need, I can smell it from here"! So we give her the story and as my g/f is explaining the situation and promptly getting a cash refund, I head back to the section where this was purchased just to check out the dates on the OTHER butts in the case. I couldn't believe what I witnessed.....EVERY butt in the case was expired! Ok, I shouldn't say everyone because at least a 1/4 of them had the BJ's sticker COVERING UP the cryovac use-by date! So who knows what was under that sticker, it could have been an older date for all I know. The lady up front got the butchers on the case quick and immediately began pulling them from the shelves. Aha! Not before I was able to take the picture of evidence below on my camera phone. [​IMG] Remember, we had opened ours at home so I didn't have as clear of a picture of all the labels as I did on one that hadn't been opened yet. I circled each date so it would be easier for you to find.

    I would appreciate you pass this info onto your friends and neighbors in case this is a widely accepted practice in other BJ's stores. I can understand that it is the end of the season here in Boston and that it may be hard to move the product after Labor Day but I don't believe BJ's should be putting the health of their customers on the back burner to increase their bottom line.

    I am in the process of writing a letter to the corporate office and including my pictoral evidence of all of this. They are lucky they are hearing from me and not us talking through lawyers if we ended up eating that meat and getting very sick. I wanted to make sure the people mostly buying the product were aware of this first. BE WARY is all I can say.....
  2. fatback joe

    fatback joe Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Wow [​IMG]

    Thanks for the heads up.
  3. hawgheaven

    hawgheaven Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Holy crap! I am a BJ's regular here in Delaware... I will DEFINITELY be inspecting labels closely, as I buy alot of shoulders from them. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the info and good luck with the corporate office...
  4. Yah no problem, I just want to make sure nobody else gets sick from this. I wouldn't be surprised if its happening in other locations as well.
  5. monty

    monty Master of the Pit Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What you have witnessed and shared with us definitely belongs in the hands of Boston's Better Business Bureau!

    I spent many years in the Boston area and I know for sure that the Boston BBB is one of the few public organizations that can claim no political interference and mean it!

    Go for broke and thank you for alerting us!

  6. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I have given up on buying butts or ribs from BJs. The last 3 double butts I bought had so many thick pieces of sinue around the muscles I had to scrape the meat off and most of it was just fat and shoe leather. I've never seen anything like it. Even after 10 to 12 hours of cooking I had these thick rope like pieces of sinue.

    The ribs are just plain fatty with very little meat and had the backbone on them and an odd stringy texture. They looked meaty in the package but the middles were all fat! Yuck!

    BJ's Meat .... [​IMG]
  7. hawgheaven

    hawgheaven Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've had pretty good luck with thier meats here, but I'd love to find another good source close by. We have a Costco around the corner from us... I think I'll check them out. The Wal-Marts around here either don't have a meat dept. or if they do, what they have is questionable at best...

    The one problem with BJ's I have found is that you are always at the mercy of the buyers. They never seem to carry the same thing twice in a row... not just the meat dept. but throughout the whole store. [​IMG]
  8. shellbellc

    shellbellc Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Phil,
    I've purchased many a meat from Costco and I think it's an excellent source. I've gotten butts, ribs, steaks, veal, pork tenderloin, salmon. All have been excellent. A lot of my friends shop the same one and have gotten all excellent comments. Their ribeyes and strip steaks are really awesome for grilling. They have the whole pork loins too if you want to try canadian bacon.
  9. Do you know if it was from Smithfield or another supplier?

    I did some research on Smithfield and they have been caught selling old meat in the past. Too bad they are also one of the largest suppliers in the US....
  10. hawgheaven

    hawgheaven Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hey Shell, thanks for that. I have heard good things from local folks about Costco, I just don't have a membership yet. I will check them out fer shur!
  11. nw-bubba

    nw-bubba Newbie

    I bought some from Costco, from various local grocers, and now mostly from United Grocers. Their prices are about 3/4 to 1/2 that of Costco out here and with a larger selection.

    I will make sure to check the "sell by" date twice now before buying. Thanks for the heads up.
  12. big-fokker

    big-fokker Meat Mopper

    I'm a BJ's regular for meat because I've actually gotten funky stuff from our local grocers Food Lion and Lowes Foods. My first brisket and the last pork butt I did came from BJ's and the meat was super fresh...however, I will be checking labels more closely from here on out!
    Thanks for the heads up[​IMG]
  13. Hey, I actually work at a BJ's in Maryland. I rotate the sodas and candy and chips. Even the lazy GM and Ass't Manager won't encourage anyone to rotate stock. Yeah you better look at the dates. Even some of the retarded cashiers are hopeless as well. A customer once came in returning a gallon of milk without the receipt. The inept cashier gave the customer credit on shopping at BJ's. The milk was from a Food Lion grocery store. We don't sell Food Lion products. D-uh.
  14. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Glad I go to Sam's!
  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Even though this thread is many years old the same principles apply today as it did then.

    It is all in the proper procedures for food safety that determines the store's reliability and the dedication to it by the employees.

    In this case, several things could have, and also should have, happened.

    1st, realize that a 'situation' arises not necessarily by fault of store personnel; rather, someone higher up makes incorrect decisions that puts into place conditions like what you've found.  Typical examples would be a meat sale that didn't go as good as planned, an over-energetic buyer that carelessly purchased too much, natural conditions that affected a sale (storms, power outages, etc.) and so on.  Somewhere something didn't 'go as planned' and the store ended up with more product than what could be sold.  Guaranteed, you are NEVER right - you buy too much or buy too little.

    So, what do you do?  You protect your assets and cover them too.  Someone didn't follow company policies and didn't do their job.

    What are the choices?  You, the meat manager, have an extra 10 cases of pork butts and shoulders on hand that didn't sell.  What do you do?  WHAT DO YOU DO??  (sorry... to borrow a line from 'Speed'..lol!)

    The worst choice is to hang on to them in hopes they sell.  Then, inattentive workers pass the buck and just keep remarking them with later dates and you've seen the result.

    Other choices would be:

    WHILE FRESH:  process and merchandise some into cuts, slices, half roasts, sliced and tied roasts, make sausages, have an in-store sale, whatever company policies allow to clean up on excess product while still in code date.  Then freeze the rest while still fresh in code date.

    FROZEN:  Pull out product frozen and unthaw in cooler (don't try to speed thaw it out in the meatroom overnight, you'll kill someone..).  REMOVE DATED WRAP and process whole, halves, sliced, etc. a piece or two at a time or as traffic bears.  Code date two days, plainly mark with a 'frozen and thawed' sticker on each package and sell it responsibly.  Pull back outdated packages and reprocess into sausages or discard.  Your first loss is your best loss - it just gets worse after that. Even though you're still losing more than you would under normal conditions, you're spreading out your loss and controlling it (its called shrinkage) over a great enough period of time it won't hurt your profitability.  Product can stay frozen 90 days with no problem.

    Someone didn't follow procedures and left it to rot.
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    So far the only bad (spoiled) food I ever got (that I noticed) was scallops from "LaneCo" (long time ago), and a shrimp ring from "Giant" (last year).

    LaneCo became Giant, but these were two different locations.

  17. sher raymond

    sher raymond Newbie

    I've heard & read great things about how Cotco handles their meats. the standards & such... sucks because obv i have a bj's card... but other than the meats I like bj.'s. 

    I DID have the SAME thing happen with a HUGE PACKAGE of boneless, skinless chicken, b

    the next day it was sour smelling, brought back just the wrapper & got a full refund but it left a bad memory for other meat/chicken product, ya know... 
  18. Thanks for sharing. I live in Massachusetts as well and will be sure to  beware of this!
  19. matchew

    matchew Smoke Blower

    There isn't anything wrong with BJ's meat. This is an old thread but it does bring to light you need to always look at the "use by date". I've purchased bad meat from all vendors before but it's not something that happens every day.

    I will say this, Smithfield is owned by a Chinese company now and now China owns more cattle farms in the US than US farmers! I try to buy meats not sold by Smithfield but I have to be realistic. Sometimes they have the best prices and some stores sell noting but.

     I did, however, go almost a whole year not purchasing Smithfield meats due to what they did to Paula Dean....FWIW.
  20. gpb11

    gpb11 Meat Mopper

    Yes, IMHO it's as much the customer's responsibility to look at the date as it's the store's responsibility to manage their stock.  

    However you shouldn't have to go looking for the packer's date and seeing if it matches the date on the store's label.  They should never be different.  

    Also remember those dates are advisory.  Most things can be perfectly fine for a bit after the date.


    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015

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