Whole Foods Accidentally Switches Labels And Ex-Vegan Zombies Overrun The Planet

woman-refusing-to-eat-meatAs a mother who’s attempting to raise her daughter vegetarian, this story angered me — but not in the way you might expect. This week, Whole Foods Market had accidentally switched labels on two salads, a curried chicken salad and its vegan counterpart, and sold them to states in the northeast on Tuesday and Wednesday. If it had been me, if I’d eaten the chicken instead of the “chik’n,” I’d be unsettled, but it wouldn’t be the end of the freaking world. However, the article on Today.com paints an alarmist picture of the whole scenario:

“I’m sure this type of thing happens far more frequently than we know,” said food management expert Steve Zagor, head of the culinary management program at the Institute of Culinary Education. “In a business with hundreds of products requiring labels and identification, it is likely that many incidents go undetected or unreported. Whether it’s misidentified fish, or types of meat, this is probably not uncommon.”

The article also sympathizes with people who don’t eat meat for religious reasons, or because of allergies, and laments how these people may be feeling after the debacle. But really, what do you expect when you buy from the grocery store?

I definitely think we should all have access to clean, fresh, preservative-free transparent ethical food. But just because this is my belief doesn’t make it true. And if you believe you’re literally going to drop dead or be struck down by God for letting an animal product touch your tongue, I hate to say it, but it’s your responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen. If it’s that important to you, buy from a local farm. Grow it yourself. Know where your food comes from.


Like I said, I would be annoyed if I ate meat or fed meat unknowingly to my daughter. But I wouldn’t pick a fight with Whole Foods about it — it’s just understood, for me, that when I buy from the grocery store I’m taking a little bit of a risk. It does annoy me, on the other hand, when I’m eating with family and they try to sneak meat into my daughter’s mouth. Even after I’ve said no, no thank you, we don’t eat meat, they will continue to pester me (especially my mother, as good as her intentions are) to let her have a bite. This is a true breach of trust, one that has caused more than a few terse conversations and dinner table arguments.

But Whole Foods is not your mother, or my mother. It does not have your best interests in mind. So with a mix-up like this, it’s better to just move on. This is no reason to antagonize the company, because Whole Foods is just that, a company, one that’s trying to maximize efficiency and profit.

(photo: Lana K / Shutterstock)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    Okay, so I completely agree that this whole debacle is definitely not something to get up in arms about. I call myself a vegetarian, but I’m really not a devoted one. I just don’t like very many meats, so it’s very rare that I ever eat them. My house being one full of carnivorous men, I don’t think complete vegetarianism is something I was ever become. But whatever. Even if I was, I don’t think I’d be stark raving mad if somebody accidentally switched labels and I consumed a few bites of chicken. Nobody will die from it, after all. It is a personal choice, not a necessity.

    However, what REALLY upsets me about this article, Amanda, is that there are members of your family that try to feed your daughter meat even after you’ve told them no?!?!?! That’s ridiculous. I’m sure they try the whole, “She needs meat to grow properly” bit, and I’m sure you’ve talked to your doctor about it and feel that it is in her best interest. So yeah, that really upsets me. I would be furious if somebody tried that with my kid…. Just saying.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      You have no idea. I get really passive aggressive about it, and sometimes I wish things would just explode so me and my parents could get our rage out!

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This sounds like something my MIL would do. . Infuriating!

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Are they the same people that try it over and over again? Because if they are, then I say get ragey! Maybe then they will know better than to try it again.

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    It was an accident. If it was done on purpose I would be more up in arms about it I think.

    I used to work at Burger King in high school and I always laughed at vegetarians who would come and get the veggie burger because the patties were cooked in the same machine as the regular burgers and were literally swimming in animal fat. As a vegetarian myself I never understood why they would eat at BK and trust the food to be meat-free.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      This is true in almost every restaurant I have worked in. There is NEVER a separate fryer. If you eat fried food in a restaurant, you are eating food that has been fried in the same oil as meat.

    • Catherine

      When McDonalds in Australia had veggie burgers they had their own grill plate. At least, the store I worked in did.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I think it’s a lot easier to have a separate grill plate than to have an entire flame broiler machine like they use in BK. This is the type of machine they use to broil things at BK…


      The grill plate is a lot smaller. I worked at McDs for a while in high school too, in the summers, but they never offered the veggie burger when I was there so I don’t know how they handled it.

    • Callie

      Really? The BKs I’ve seen cook all the veggie patties in the microwave, not “swimming in animal fat.” Maybe things were different when you worked there.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This was over 10 years ago so they definitely might have changed things but when I worked there they put the veggie patties through the same flame broiler machine they put the regular patties in. The whole point was that they couldn’t advertise as “flame broiled” unless they used the machine and it wasn’t financially feasible to have a second flame broiler just for the veggie burger.

      And the restaurants I’ve worked for were even worse, like Maria said. Though I’ve also worked at a few that were very careful about not mixing the vegetarian stuff with the animal products.

  • Catherine

    I would be up in arms because I have a severe intolerance to poultry and red meat, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers.
    Not everyone has dietary restrictions for reasons of choice.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      Ugh, that would be horrible, I’m sorry :-( I bet in your case Whole Foods would’ve at least offered to pay your medical bills. at least I would hope!

  • Amber

    I’m stunned that there were people who ate it and didn’t immediately know that it was real chicken not fake chicken. I’ve eaten lots of meat substitutes and while some are ok, there is a big difference.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Amanda Low

      Right? That blows my mind too.

    • AS

      Denial tastes so good.