Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken: You May Want to Think Twice

What Costco Doesn’t Want You to Know

Costco, the beloved warehouse giant, has long been a go-to destination for savvy shoppers looking to save money on everyday essentials, including food. Among their offerings, Costco chicken is undeniably popular, with a staggering 117 million sold each year. But what exactly are we getting when we purchase this seemingly convenient and affordable poultry option? The truth behind Costco chicken may not be as appetizing as it appears.

The Truth Beneath Such Affordably Priced Chicken

In this article, our focus is on the rotisserie chickens available at the prominent retail chain, Costco. However, it’s crucial to note that this issue extends beyond a single store. We encourage you to exercise vigilance when shopping for food and conduct thorough research. What we uncover here is not exclusive to Costco; it’s a concern that may exist in various forms across numerous major grocery outlets.


The Marination Mystery:

Extended Shelf Life at a Cost

One of the key factors behind the mass appeal of Costco chicken is its extended shelf life, thanks to a marination process. However, the solution used in this marination isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It’s composed of a blend of additives, chemicals, and seasonings, including the notorious MSG (Monosodium glutamate), yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate, and various “natural flavors.” While the word “natural” might sound appealing, it’s often a cover for a myriad of undisclosed ingredients.

Pre-Cooked Months in Advance:

The Quest for Addictiveness

What’s more concerning is that these chickens are marinated in this solution months before they even make it to your local Costco store. You might be wondering why anyone would choose to pre-cook a chicken, especially when freshly cooked food is generally regarded as the gold standard. The answer lies in the pursuit of an almost irresistible quality—addictiveness.

By marinating and pre-cooking these chickens well in advance, a subtle alchemy takes place. The marination process, infused with a blend of additives, chemicals, and seasonings, including MSG (Monosodium glutamate), yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate, and “natural flavors,” achieves a remarkable result. The flavors meld, seep into every fiber of the chicken, and create a taste profile that’s not only appealing but also habit-forming.

This marination process isn’t just a matter of convenience; it’s a deliberate strategy to make the chicken as addictive as possible. The very same ingredients that contribute to this effect are found in many heavily processed packaged foods. MSG, for instance, is known for its ability to enhance the “umami” flavor, a savory and satisfying taste sensation that keeps you coming back for more.

The science behind this addictiveness is well-studied, and the food industry has honed its techniques over the years. In essence, pre-cooking the chicken and marinating it in these additives amplifies the appeal and makes it challenging for consumers to resist. It’s a calculated choice, not necessarily in the best interest of your health, but in the interest of selling more chickens.

Additionally, you will find that Costco uses many of the ingredients we unveiled in our post: From Cigarettes to Chips: The Disturbing Link Between Big Tobacco and Our Processed Food Cravings

So, the next time you’re drawn to the tantalizing aroma of a rotisserie chicken in a store or at a Costco, remember that the desire to reach for one of these birds isn’t purely coincidental. It’s a result of a carefully orchestrated process designed to leave you craving that succulent, addictive taste. While it might be a culinary delight, it’s essential to balance that craving with the knowledge of what goes into creating it and its potential impact on your health.


Packaging and Toxins:

The next issue with Costco chicken is the packaging. You’ve probably noticed that the hot, steaming chicken is often served in a plastic container. These containers can pose potential health risks, especially when exposed to heat. Many of them contain BPA (Bisphenol-A), a chemical compound known for its adverse effects on human health.

BPA and Its Health Implications:

BPA is a chemical that has garnered considerable attention due to its potential health effects. It is commonly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, which are found in various products, including food and beverage containers. Studies have raised concerns about BPA because it can mimic the hormone estrogen in the human body, leading to a range of potential health issues. These issues include reproductive problems, developmental concerns in children, and links to certain chronic diseases.


Heat and BPA – A Troubling Combination:

When plastic containers containing BPA are exposed to heat, the risk of BPA leaching into the food increases. The high temperatures, especially in the case of hot foods, can cause the BPA to break down and potentially migrate into the food it’s meant to protect. This is particularly worrisome when considering the steaming-hot rotisserie chicken found in many stores.

Toxins in Transit:

To add to the complexity, when hot, freshly cooked chickens are placed in these plastic containers, they continue to sit on warm shelves, sometimes for extended periods. This prolonged exposure to heat can further increase the potential for BPA transfer from the container to the food.

The toxins that may be emitted into the chicken during this process can pose health risks to consumers, as BPA is known to disrupt hormonal balance in the body. While the extent of BPA exposure through food packaging varies depending on factors like temperature and the duration of exposure, the potential presence of this chemical is a cause for concern.

Consumer Choices and Safer Alternatives:

Awareness of these concerns is the first step toward making informed choices as consumers. It’s important to recognize that while BPA is just one aspect of the broader issue of food packaging safety, it’s an area where consumer demand for safer alternatives can have a significant impact.


Chlorine Baths and Bleaching:

A Cleanse with Controversy

And, just when you thought things couldn’t get any more concerning, there’s the issue of chlorination and bleaching. Sometimes, the chickens you find in stores have been subjected to a chlorine bath or bleach, a process that’s meant to disinfect the meat. While this might sound like a good idea, it’s not without controversy. Chlorine and bleach in food have been associated with various health concerns.


The Cost of the Low Price: What’s Truly on the Line

All of these factors combine to create an unsettling picture of the famous Costco chicken. Yes, they’re incredibly affordable, but that affordability comes at a cost. The use of additives, chemicals, and questionable marination methods may make them addictive, but they also make them a questionable choice for those seeking healthier and more natural food options.

As consumers, it’s essential to be aware of what we’re putting on our plates and into our bodies. While Costco chicken may be a tempting choice due to its convenience and low price, the hidden ingredients and processes behind it might make you think twice. Your health and well-being deserve better, so consider your choices carefully the next time you’re at your local Costco.


Next time, try our winning garlic herb butter roasted chicken recipe at home. Not only is it incredibly delicious, it’s low carb and keto friendly! Another reason to enjoy this meal completely guilt-free.


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