Woolworths has apologised after a customer posted a photo to Facebook of “frost-covered” ice cream tubs at a NSW store over the weekend.
“This is what the ice cream freezer at Kings Langley Woolworths in NSW has looked like for weeks now,” Bruce Rayne wrote. “No one is going to buy those frost-covered ice-cream tubs. What a waste!”
While a bit of frost may seem like no big deal, frost-covered tubs are a sign the temperature in the freezer is too high and can lead to “freezer burn”.
“It can become freezer burnt and spoil,” one commenter said. “I’ve had ice cream that was freezer burnt and it is quite disgusting it becomes gritty and bitter.”
Woolworths’ Facebook page wrote in response, “We’re sorry to see the ice cream in such state sold at our Kings Langley store. Our store team regularly checks the temperatures of all our freezers, fridges and counters, to ensure that all products are kept at the right temperature.”
Laura Black wasn’t fazed. “I think the freezer is in overload,” she said. “Ice cream should still be good. But if your gunna mark it down 90 per cent Woolies let me know I’ll come buy it all.”
A Woolworths spokeswoman said a “technical error” had caused the temperature settings on the ice-cream refrigerators to be higher than usual, “resulting in a build up of ice on the external packaging of some ice-cream products”.
“We are working closely with our refrigerator technicians to rectify the issue which has had no impact on the great tasting high quality ice cream available for customers to enjoy,” she said.
According to the International Ice Cream Association, the optimum temperature for a supermarket’s freezer case is minus 18 degrees Celsius “or colder” and should not be above minus 12 degrees.
The IICA does not say whether the temperature can be too cold but warns against allowing ice cream to repeatedly soften and refreeze in the home freezer.
“When ice cream’s small ice crystals melt and refreeze they can eventually turn into large, unpalatable lumps,” it says.
In 2017, a NSW grandmother went viral after revealing a Coles ice-cream sandwich thrown on her lawn didn’t melt even after sitting in the sun for four days and caused ants to “flee in terror”.