Consumer Reports calls out Costco’s rotisserie chicken


Whether you missed it or don’t much care about raising chickens, the current issue of Consumer Reports has a warning about those “super-tasty, super-popular and super-cheap” Costco rotisserie chickens.

In a word, CR’s warning is sodium.

“Costco’s rotisserie chicken has 460 mg of sodium per standard 3-ounce serving, one-fifth of the maximum amount that adults should consume in a day (2,300 mg), according to CR’s January 2022 issue. Sodium-loaded rotisserie chicken is not unique to Costco. ShopRite’s Bowl & Basket chicken has 520 mg per 3-ounce serving and sells online for $5.99.

Many who buy a $5 Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken at Costco consume more than 3-ounces, further adding to a sodium-intake that can race hearts and cause other health problems.

CR says “Americans love” Costco rotisserie chicken but finds it has recently come under scrutiny. Costco’s poultry demands require what USDA calls concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

CR says Costco’s “factory chicken farm In Nebraska” was accused last February in a video of swollen, injured, and deformed chickens in a crowded, darkened warehouse.

Afterward, the group Mercy pressured Costco to sign its “Better Chicken Commitment.” Hundreds of companies have reportedly signed the commitment for improved conditions, but Costco is not one of them and does not plan to be.

Costco, widely recognized for its leadership in food safety, says it has its standards for its producers and enforces appropriate requirements for its broiler producers.

According to CR, crowded windowless “factory farms” likely contribute to salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry. The consumer magazine suggests choosing organic-raised poultry over conventional. It acknowledges organic is more costly.

“Chickens bearing the USDA Organic label differ from conventionally raised birds in several important ways,” according to CR. One difference is that organic poultry is raised without antibiotics to ward off illnesses and diseases.

As for “humane treatment,” CR said it “means different things to different groups — and they may not match what you’d expect.” It suggests consumers check out such labels as “USDA Organic,” “Certified Humane,” “Animal Welfare Approved,” and “Animal Humane Certified.”