Consumer News

Costco’s $4.99 Chicken Is Becoming A Big Problem

Costco has announced its plan to build a large poultry complex in Nebraska to expand the production of its cheap rotisserie chicken. But health experts have raised concerns due to the potential impact of the project on consumers.  

The multinational retail company is known for selling its $4.99 rotisserie chicken. Costco said building the 400,000-square-foot poultry complex in the city of Fremont will enable it to “control the production process from farm to store,” CNN reported

The decision comes after the company saw a significant increase in the sales of its cheap chicken product over the past years. In 2018, the company sold more than 90 million rotisserie chickens across the U.S. 

However, for health and environmental experts, Costco’s plan to sell more of its $4.99 chicken products could lead to major problems. The product is made through concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). 

CAFOs are known for being a low-cost process but are also contributing to pollution and to the growing antibiotic-resistant diseases. Costco’s new poultry complex may produce toxic runoff, such as ammonia and nitrates, which may affect the communities surrounding the facility, Randy Ruppert, a Fremont environmental activist, told CNN. 

Health Effects of Costco Chicken

Aside from its potential damage to the environment, the expanded production of Costco’s $4.99 chicken may also put more people at risk of health problems. CAFO-raised chickens have high levels of antibiotics and are exposed to bacterial contamination linked to drug-resistant urinary tract infection (UTI), according to Mercola.

CAFO chickens have also been associated with the obesity epidemic in the U.S. A report in 2012 showed that majority of commercially-available chickens contain the “obese gene.”

Chickens get such gene when they are forced to gain weight quickly for production. This increases the amount of potentially harmful fats in the food products consumed by people. 

Another study suggested that CAFO chickens contain more fat and higher omega-6 while having lower amounts of protein and omega-3 fats.

More Problems With Costco Chicken

Aside from health and environmental impacts, experts also raised concerns with chicken production’s unfair contract agreements. Robert Taylor, a professor of agricultural economics at Auburn University, said majority of American chicken farmers have a contract that “essentially makes the farmer an indentured servant” or “chicken house janitor.”

That is because farmers manage all the building and maintaining of barns, while companies only supply the chicks and set all the rules. The current contract system also provides less benefits and financial support to workers.

chicken Costco has announced its plan to build a large poultry complex in Nebraska to expand its production of its cheap rotisserie chicken. Pixabay