Context: I am a member of staff at a supermarket where customers within supermarkets frequently "dump" refrigerated/fresh items into freezers. As far as I am aware, the options I have to me for dealing with these dumped items are as follows:
- Thawing the (partially/entirely) frozen item within the back-area chillers and selling as normal
- Thawing the (partially/entirely) frozen item within the back-area chillers and reducing the price of the item, as we currently do with lesser-quality food items (eg poor cuts of meat, superficially damaged packaging or multi-pack items that are missing an item or two)
- Discarding the item as not-fit-for-human-consumption
Background reading indicates that for most products - assuming that the food does not defrost within the "danger zone" (above 40f) - the main concern with thawing these items relates to food quality rather than food safety as the freeze-thaw cycle will damage the food's internal cell-structure.
This leads me to believe that option #2 is the best balance for avoiding excessive wastage and ensuring customer safety but these thoughts are based on extremely limited reading material and passing the smell-test of what "makes sense".
Please confirm the "best practices" / safety guidelines relating to this scenario and provide information on the caveats / what to look out for.