Costco Shoppers Say Rotisserie Chicken Is Making Them Sick

Consumers have started to raise concerns about this popular item.

Shoppers have many reasons to love Costco, which has helped the wholesale retailer build a cult following over the years. Not only can you go to its stores and save money through incredible bulk deals, but you can also treat yourself to a cheap meal at its infamous food court. But you may not want to eat everything you find at Costco anymore. In fact, one of its most beloved food items is getting quite a bad rep these days. Read on to find out more about why Costco shoppers say its rotisserie chicken is making them sick.

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Costco's rotisserie chicken has long been a staple for shoppers.

Los Angeles, CA/USA 11/25/2019 Kirkland brand seasoned rotisserie chickens for sale at a Costco Mega Discount Store
Shutterstock

If you spend your time searching for cheap, substantial meals, chances are you've stumbled upon Costco's iconic rotisserie chicken at some point. This product has remained priced at just $4.99 for over a decade—even as chicken prices increased 18.6 percent during the height of inflation between June 2021 and June 2022, Vox reported.

Costco's low-cost rotisserie chicken has become so beloved over the years that there is even an entire Facebook page dedicated to the product with more than 19,000 followers. And in 2020, the company made it clear that it has no plans to raise the price of its fan-favorite foods.

"We want to continue to get people in the stores, and there's no better way to do it than a $1.50 hot dog and a rotisserie chicken," Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told CNBC at the time.

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But now some say the chicken's taste has changed.

Sacramento, CA, USA March 24th, 2022 Costco employee cooking famous affordable roasted chickens
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Costco's rotisserie chicken has recently come under a bit of scrutiny, however. Reddit user @MillennialModernMan first brought up new concerns about the product in a Feb. 2023 post on the r/Costco subreddit, asking others: "Whats up with the rotisserie chicken lately?"

"I was at Costco today and bought my rotisserie chicken just like every time I'm there. We tasted it and it has a distinct chemical flavor to it, really off putting," the Reddit user explained. "Same thing happened last time, about three weeks ago. This was never a problem before, been buying it for years, has something changed recently?"

More shoppers in the comment section backed up the user's concerns, saying they had noticed similar problems. "Thank you for posting this. I thought I was losing it/had COVID again when I tried a rotisserie chicken recently and it tasted…chemically and soapy? So odd," one person replied. Another wrote, "I noticed this too. My chicken tastes like plastic."

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Others claim that the chicken is making them sick.

woman with stomach pain
sebra / Shutterstock

But it's not just the weird, new chemical taste consumers can't stomach. Some shoppers are also claiming that Costco's rotisserie chicken is actually making them sick to their stomachs.

Allrecipes recently reported that their editor Courtney Kassel has even fallen ill after eating the beloved food. "We had a Costco rotisserie chicken on hand so we shredded some and added it to our pesto pasta last night," Kassel told the news outlet on Aug. 14. "Nothing else out of the ordinary. Almost all of us were up with a stomach ache or cramps all night, and I was still bloated when I woke up this morning."

Kassel is hardly alone in her experience. A Costco customer from Canada recently reported experiencing nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting after eating the product on the IWasPoisoned.com website. "I bought the rotisserie chicken and have been sick for three days," they wrote.

A now-deleted Reddit post from July also indicated the same issue. "The rotisserie chicken gives us diarrhea every single time," the original poster wrote on the r/Costco subreddit.

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A specific ingredient in the Costco product may be to blame.

A view of several Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken packages, on display at a local Costco store.
Shutterstock

Best Life has reached out to Costco about the recent complaints from customers, and we will update this story with their response.

But some shoppers have their theories about why people are getting sick from the rotisserie chicken. The now-deleted July Reddit post has over 700 comments, and some users pointed to a concerning ingredient included in the Costco product.

"Their chicken has carrageenan," one person replied. "It's used as a thickener usually, but it can give people diarrhea."

Carrageenan is listed as an ingredient in the Costco rotisserie chicken, Allrecipes reported. According to Healthline, this food additive is commonly used to "thicken, emulsify, and preserve" many different foods and drinks. But there has been controversy about the health effects of carrageenan since the late 1960s.

"Some evidence suggests that carrageenan triggers inflammation, gastrointestinal ulcerations, and that it damages your digestive system," Healthline explained. "People have been petitioning for products with carrageenan to be labeled with a warning or removed entirely."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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