AUSTIN, Texas — More than 250 people attempted to gain access to dumpsters at a Texas grocery store after a bogus post advertised free food, authorities said.
On Thursday, Constable George Morales III of Travis County Precinct 4 posted a warning on Facebook that the food in the dumpsters at an H-E-B grocery store in Austin was not fit to eat.
“We had over 250 people fighting in the dumpsters because someone posted ‘Free Food!’” Morales wrote. “This is not free food.”
Morales later revised his post to state that people were not fighting, “but trying to gain access.”
“I should use better metaphors,” Morales wrote. “Our intent was to make the area safe for residents and the employees. The gridlock was my most important reason to clear the area. ...:”
An ice storm that struck Texas last week knocked out power to more than 400,000 homes and businesses in the area, CNN reported.
“The food is rotten and spoiled, and is unsafe to eat,” Morales wrote on Facebook. “Our Pct 4 deputies and APD (Austin Police Department) responded to roads that were gridlocked because of this false post. The area was cleared by our office.
“If you know someone that got food, let them know it is not safe.”
In a statement to KEYE-TV, H-E-B said that power went out at the store and officials were unable to keep the food at proper temperatures, forcing them to discard it in the dumpsters.
“To adhere to strict food quality and safety standards, we are required to dispose of certain perishable foods when they are not properly temperature controlled, which also prevents us from donating the items to food pantries and food banks,” the grocery chain wrote. “H-E-B is a large donor to Texas food banks and donates more than 34 million pounds of food each year to support Texans in need.”
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