- Grocers in Washington state have been forced to stop selling some refrigerated goods amid a heat wave.
- The heat makes it hard for air conditioning and refrigeration units to maintain low temperatures.
- Some Fred Meyers covered refrigerated goods in plastic to keep in the cool air, according to pictures posted to social media.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Grocery stores in Washington state have been forced to pull perishable goods from shelves and turn off entire refrigerated sections in order to combat record-shattering temperatures.
On Monday, several locations in Oregon and Washington state broke all-time records, as temperatures rose as high as 116 degrees. The heat has caused several power outages throughout the region, and taken a toll on local businesses.
The weather makes it difficult for refrigeration and freezer units to maintain low temperatures. An Albertsons spokesperson told Fox Seattle that the heat caused the grocery store’s refrigeration units to malfunction at a store in Mill Creek, Washington. The grocer was forced to pull several perishable goods from its shelves, including meats, lettuce, and dairy items. The store posted signs warning customers it would not be able to provide several refrigerated foods and cordoned off the empty aisles.
Other stores throughout the state have implemented similar tactics. Multiple Fred Meyers in Washington state put plastic covers over refrigerated goods to keep in the cool air, according to dozens of posts on social media. A Fred Meyer spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.
Heatwaves like these are becoming the deadliest weather conditions across the US. According to a report by The Washington Post, some locations may reach temperature and humidity levels too intense for human survival. On Tuesday, The Seattle Times reported two people had died and hundreds of people had been admitted to the hospital due to the triple-digit temperatures.
Cooling equipment such as air conditioners have been struggling to fight the heat, showcasing a global need for more effective ways for cities to cool down, Axios reported.
-Lou Brancaccio (@lounews) June 28, 2021
Two Fred Meyer shoppers said on social media that at least two locations have turned on roof sprinklers to help maintain air conditioning and freezer units.
Washington state shoppers took to social media to post pictures of grocery stores with empty freezer aisles and refrigerated units wrapped in plastic. Some said aisles of Gatorade and electrolyte drinks had been completely cleared out, others said large crowds had gathered in the refrigerated sections of the stores to beat the heat.
Several Seattle restaurants and cafes have also shut down due to refrigeration and air conditioning issues. Melissa Miranda, the owner of a popular downtown Filipinx restaurant Musang, told Eater Seattle the heat has created unsustainable working conditions for staff.
“Most importantly it’s my concern for the staff,” Miranda told the food blog. “Working in these conditions is insane.”