Monday, May 10, 2010

This is no spring chicken!

OK - I am going off-topic for a second here, but I am just amazed:

I've just taken the label off an organic chicken bought from Key Food on Atlantic Avenue, between Clinton and Court Street. The minute I smelled the chicken as I took off its packaging something was off. So I looked carefully at the label.

The original label with sell by date appeared to have been partially torn off (half an old label was visible), and a larger label stuck over it. From the back of the label I could read an original sell by date: May 5. The label stuck over reads May 16. ELEVEN days later.

Presumably it's because D'Artagnan, organic, costs more than 'regular' chicken, though at $3.99 a lb this one seemed lower than usual...Hm. So maybe the more expensive chicken was not moving...

This store recently acquired new management. This possibly because of serious health violations for which they were cited in April.

And I have no grilled chicken for dinner.

Update 5-17-10: After the Brooklyn Paper picked up this story it was posted on Gothamist and a couple of other blogs. So hopefully the word is out. The Health Department visited the next day, according to the Brooklyn Paper's Andy Campbell, who called me about the story. They found no violations, apparently, though I have yet to hear from them in writing. I imagine that's because the D'Artagan chickens were sold out. I had bought the second to last fowl.

I am curious that the Health Department never asked to see the label or the chicken.

Presumably I may now bury the evidence, kept in the freezer. Anyone know of a good epitaph for an organic chicken gone bad?

I no longer shop for chicken at Key Food.

Update 5-25-10: it is not illegal to re-label potentially spoiled meat. Per Huffington Post.


  1. Are these people likely to read your blog?

  2. Forget libel! I say walk that chicken (or at least the package) back to the store and ask them what they propose to do about it! Then find out who to report them to. That kind of behavior is criminal and should be punished.

  3. I dept. only open tomorrow am.

  4. Sounds like you shouldn't shop there anymore. If the organic chicken costs $13 a bird, how much does the common chicken cost there? Sure, report 'em, too, but don't get your hopes up of anything happening. Now that I think about it, maybe you should report them before attempting to get a refund, after all, the health inspectors will likely find more of the same if they have the element of surprise on their side.

  5. I find it rather odd, to say the least. As far as expressing your self via your blog it's your right. I would take the chicken back and ask what's up! It's one thing to slap a later date label on a package of flower seeds, but quite another on consumables.

  6. Hi Brandon - Do you mean that $13 is little or too much for an organic chicken? It's low-ish by NYC standards, but it was a small bird. Hey, maybe the price dropped per lb when they made it 11 days older!

    Trey, thanks for stopping by - yeah - we'll see.

  7. UGH! Yes, I'm with Ellen on this one. They have some 'splanin to do.

  8. Health inspector first, definitely! That was just outrageous - and so dangerous that you wonder how they would take the risk.

    Organic free range chicken costs a small fortune here too...

  9. Yet another reason for you to come back to SA! I just discovered fantastic organic chicken from Spier (wine farm) that gets sold at Neighourhood Goods Market. Reasonable-sized bird sells for about R80 and is seriously tasty. Coz.

  10. Big stores often cited for this in TV expose-A.
    Although usually its old ground beef turned into new ground beef. But I'm sure they don't want to lose profit on an expensive organic chicken because it didn't sell by date.

    But then you wonder -is it an organic chicken? Why not "dis" label every aspect.

    I would say- what was it 3.39 a lb is lower than usual.


  11. sorry, 3.99. But I would add that a label is no substitute for trust.

  12. This has happened in my household more than once. I think someone like you could make people and regulatory commissions aware of this practice. It is dangerous! Children could die from bacteria laden poultry and meat.

  13. No, I wasn't thinking libel; more that if they read your blog they'd be forewarned ahead of the inspector you should (will?) send.

  14. Health dept. on its way, but they say their investigation takes two weeks. Big city. But I'm quite concerned about how much chicken will be passed off as good until then. Sadly I will no longer shop there. It was useful for ordinary stuff,and in a nice line with my greengrocer, Sahadi's and the wine store, but this is nuts. What crooks.


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