A power outage and a social media post led to a 250-person fight over “free food” in a grocery store dumpster, Texas authorities said.
An H-E-B grocery store on the southeast side of Austin experienced a “sustained power outage” and had to throw out a large amount of perishable food on Thursday, Feb. 2, the company told CBS Austin in a statement.
Someone noticed the food in the grocery store dumpster and posted about the “free food” on social media, Travis County Constable George Morales III said in a Facebook post.
Over 250 people arrived at the grocery store and began fighting in the dumpster over the discarded food, Morales said. Videos of the scene showed people in the dumpster grabbing food and tossing it into waiting carts.
Another video shared on Facebook showed a very full dumpster with people throwing things back and forth.
The chaos caused gridlock on roads near the grocery store, Morales said. Deputies and police officers arrived at the scene and cleared the area.
“This is not free food,” Morales said. “The food is rotten and spoiled, and is unsafe to eat.”
H-E-B told CBS Austin “the store was unable to keep certain perishable foods at proper temperatures. 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.”
H-E-B did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.