If you haven't already heard, a swath of whole foods stores in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine sold real chicken labeled as vegan chicken in their prepared food bar for two days this week before anyone noticed an error.
I don't think it needs to be reiterated how obviously not ok this is, but there might be a few things the dozens of news articles are missing. Not to be too Pollyanna-ish, but consider the underlying implications:
1. There's so much fake chicken in the world these days!
2. Lots of omnivores ate fake chicken and didn't even notice, proving that most people really can't taste the difference.
3. The recall is big news because lots of people care about eating vegan.
Good for Whole Foods for coming out and admitting the error, even, it seems contacting the FDA themselves, if less than for the vegan/non-vegan issue, than for the food allergies (what's a vegan got to do to get some respect?). I'm sure it must have been tempting to sweep this under the rug and hope no one noticed, since apparently, no consumers did.
I also can't help but note how this is becoming a big story - it's been covered by everyone from USA Today to FoxNews. Sure, it happened en masse to a large and well-liked corporate brand, but honestly, who among us vegetarian has never once had a restaurant or food server make a mistake which resulted in that gross, chewy, feeling immediately followed by the "uh-oh" knowledge that you've got meat in your mouth? I'm guessing anyone who's been vegetarian longer than a year has had this happen at least once, if not multiple times.
I like Whole Foods - I like knowing that CEO John Mackey is a vegan, and I'll continue to shop there regularly, but of course, given the opportunity, I'll always shop at locally-owned and co-op grocers instead.