Trader Joe’s, Walgreen’s, A&P’s Fresh Foods and Whole Foods Market are part of a recent recall of E. Coli contaminated chicken products made by a California Glass Onion Catering company bearing various brand names such as  Trader Joe’s, DeLish, Atherstone, Super Fresh Foods and Lunch Spot. The chicken used in salads, sandwiches and wraps was produced between Sept 23 and November 6th and so far affected 26 people in California, Washington and Arizona. The contaminated chicken was distributed to stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

This health alert has been reported by many news organizations echoing the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announcement of the recall made on November 10th. will share the labels of the brands affected by this recall as a public service. However, responsible consumers should make certain their local retailer took the recalled product off the shelf and pay close attention to the sell-by dates on the labels. Hopefully the threat of financial calamity resulting from this recall is enough to make the Glass Onion Catering company clean up its act and manufacture clean and safe products going forward.

Lessons for consumers start with the simple revelation that premium retailers just like value retailers are pretty much selling the same product. We’d like to think that paying a premium for a chicken wrap at Whole Foods Market will buy better quality food, but we are clearly mistaken or worse – we are misled. To think that Trader Joe’s, Walgreen’s, A&P as well as Whole Foods are simply slapping different labels on the same product cooked at a central kitchen is not only illogical, but sad and misleading. The conclusions consumers draw from this recall about our food supply is not a comforting one. We can choose to buy food locally and cook our meals at home, but for many this is not a viable option, nor a guarantee for quality and safety. But we hold a tremendous amount of power over the brands and the retailers, it is the age old buying power that we should remember to exercise the system fails us.