Stuck on canned tuna? Yes, but it’s not from yesterday

Tuna lovers steer clear. On social networks, a picture has been circulating in recent days and is alarming consumers. On the shelves of a Portuguese supermarket, canned tuna is now protected by anti-theft devices. As seen in normal times for electronic devices, small plastic boxes can help limit the number of thefts in supermarkets. The problem can be attributed to the inflation crisis that Portugal – and Europe in general – is currently experiencing.

“Great”, reacted on his Twitter Ségolène Royal, while republishing the photo of the locked yellow boxes. “Tuna cans are protected by anti-theft devices in Portugal against thefts to eat. Is this the Europe we young people dream of? This war in Ukraine has to stop and everyone has to work together to get there”. If the outrage is legitimate, the connection to the war in Ukraine is a deceptive shortcut. The phenomenon of the food lock is really not new in Portugal. To better understand, 20 minutes go back a few years.


In an article published on October 24 by the media Courrier International, citing the Portuguese weekly Expresso, the journalist looked back at the increasing number of robberies in supermarkets in the country. The increase has even been noticed by the Portuguese Association of Distribution Companies (Aped). “There is no doubt that these are food thefts. This is the first symptom of a serious social crisis”, testified the president of the association in the weekly.

The proportion of these thefts remains very little known in Portugal, because the security prefers not to always report them, explains International mail. But another figure is known to understand the extent of the phenomenon: inflation. In September, inflation rose to 9.8%, close to the euro zone average of 9.9%.

In their articles, the media used the image of a can of tuna protected by a lock to illustrate their statements, as they would do a few days later on a daily basis. The world. “Tuna cans are equipped with locks to face the resurgence of thefts, in a large Portuguese area”, underlines the legend, without saying that this is a new phenomenon.

An ancient wonder

In fact, in Portugal, the installation of locks on supermarket products began in pre-war Ukraine. The connection made by Ségolène Royal between the two events is illogical. In social networks, Internet users actually find similar published images in March 2014 on Facebook. The same canned brand, the same locks.

In addition, our colleagues from the Portuguese fact-checking cell Poligrafo have also shown that other products such as cod steaks have been placed under anti-theft… but for several months. In Portuguese media, the Auchan supermarket chain further explained that this practice was introduced more than two years ago on its shelves. “A preventive practice”, underline the sign. Other channels indicate to our colleagues that the decision is even older.

After the eurozone debt crisis in 2010, Portugal implemented several austerity plans. Since then, the country seems to be rising above water, but the current inflation is hitting households again. In early September, the Portuguese government announced nearly 2.4 billion euros in household aid. “It’s been thirty years since we saw such a drastic and sudden increase in the cost of living,” Prime Minister Antonio Costa said at the time.

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