Science

15 Whole Foods Market Stores Sold Mislabeled Vegan 'Chick'n' Salad

By Hilda Scott , May 10, 2013 12:46 PM EDT

Whole Foods Market Inc. says there was a mix-up with labels between a regular chicken salad and a vegan version of the same salad. The error was found at several of the cold food bars at Whole Foods Market locations in the Northeast.

The labels appeared to be reversed: the mislabeled salad selections were a curried chicken salad and a vegan curried "chick'n" salad. The curried chicken and vegan curried salads that were mislabeled were sold at 15 Whole Foods stores. Whole Foods is well known for its wide selection of organic foods and has approximately 330 stores within the U.S.

Whole Foods said the stores where the salads were sold included Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. The curried chicken salad and the vegan curried version were sold at tables where customers scoop their selected choices into containers from bins in the cold food bar. At some other Whole Foods locations, the salads were behind glass on display in the prepared food sections.

The vegan salad contains soy and the curried chicken salad contains eggs, said the Food and Drug Administration. People who are allergic to either may suffer from a serious allergic reaction that may even be life-threatening if they eat the mislabeled salad. Whole Foods, based in Austin, Texas, said there were no reports of illness.

According to Whole Foods Market's spokeswoman, Libba Letton, the mislabeled salads came from a company-owned commissary that ships food to various Whole Foods markets. An employee at one of its stores discovered the mislabeled chicken and vegan salad selections. Letton said that Whole Foods will issue a recall in accordance with FDA guidelines and also post signs in its stores Friday to inform customers about the mislabeled salads. 

The following stores were affected by the mislabeled salads: Columbus Circle and the Upper West Side stores in NYC; Jericho, Lake Grove, and Manhasset in New York; Darien, Fairfield and West Hartford in Connecticut; Framingham and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; Millburn-Union, Montclair, Rose City-Madison and West Orange in New Jersey. 

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