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Old 10-13-2013, 12:48 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,906 posts, read 5,559,080 times
Reputation: 52879

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Last week there was a story on the news about possible salmonella contamination in chickens processed at Foster Farms plants in California. The story gave the USDA code numbers that would appear on packages of the affected products. (P6137, P6137A or P7632).

"No problem," I said to myself. "I only buy my chicken at Trader Joe's." For years I've been a fan of their frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and have always kept some on hand with no qualms about the quality of the product. But just to be on the safe side, I decided to check the number on the package against the ones given in the story. Uh-oh. One of them matched!

I will not be using what's left in the bag, and furthermore I will not be purchasing any more Trader Joe's branded chicken. I'm also disappointed that the news stories didn't mention that this chicken might be sold under the Trader Joe's brand name.

As if that weren't bad enough, the other night I went shopping at Trader Joe's and bought a package of their Hot Cocoa Mix. It's the best instant cocoa I've ever tried, smooth, rich and creamy. It's been off the shelves all summer, and I was glad to see it back.

But wait! When I brought the cocoa home and put it next to last year's cocoa (the last two packets of which I had been hoarding), I noticed something odd: The new box was noticeably smaller. I checked the label and discovered that the new package is 2½ oz. lighter. Each of the 10 packets is now 28 grams instead of the old 35 grams. The ingredients have also changed. The old version contained whole milk powder and cane sugar. The new one contains skim milk powder and "cane syrup solids."

Next I did a taste test, preparing one old packet and one new packet exactly as directed on the package. (The directions call for the same amount of hot water, 6 oz., even though the new version has less mix in each packet.) The difference in appearance between the two mugs of cocoa was just as striking as the difference in the package size. The old one was a light brown color while the new version is darker brown. The taste was different, too. The old cocoa was rich, sweet, creamy and satisfying. The new one was thinner, not as sweet and had a slightly grainy texture.

I'm very disappointed in Trader Joe's and will not be buying their chicken or their cocoa mix again.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:42 AM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,746 posts, read 3,155,086 times
Reputation: 3195
I was always warned that Trader Joe's has a very high rate of "contamination" among their foods. It's kinda scary when you think about it.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:33 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,906 posts, read 5,559,080 times
Reputation: 52879
Quote:
Originally Posted by psichick View Post
I was always warned that Trader Joe's has a very high rate of "contamination" among their foods. It's kinda scary when you think about it.
Where did you hear that, psichick? I'm just curious. I have never had any issues with the quality of their products other than the fresh produce, which is sometimes not as high quality or as fresh as it should be. Some of their produce has gone bad soon after I bring it home. But for the most part, I've been happy with their merchandise . . . until now.
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:29 AM
 
Location: Yellow cottage, green doors.
16,420 posts, read 13,325,570 times
Reputation: 72436
Consumer Reports published in recent years that the majority of raw chicken sold in any stores carries salmonella and it is the reason why chicken must be cooked properly, to 180 degrees fahrenheit.
I wouldn't hesitate to eat that chicken, Bayarea4. BUT!:
I'd return it to the store only because anyone would obviously feel uncomfortable eating it after seeing that warning!
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:33 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,906 posts, read 5,559,080 times
Reputation: 52879
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainroosty View Post
Consumer Reports published in recent years that the majority of raw chicken sold in any stores carries salmonella and it is the reason why chicken must be cooked properly, to 180 degrees fahrenheit.
I wouldn't hesitate to eat that chicken, Bayarea4.
You're right, roosty, it's probably safe as long as the chicken is properly cooked. But I'm too creeped out to ever use it. I guess I'm just . . .wait for it . . . chicken!
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:10 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
5,040 posts, read 8,029,561 times
Reputation: 10809
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayarea4 View Post
But wait! When I brought the cocoa home and put it next to last year's cocoa (the last two packets of which I had been hoarding), I noticed something odd: The new box was noticeably smaller. I checked the label and discovered that the new package is 2½ oz. lighter. Each of the 10 packets is now 28 grams instead of the old 35 grams. The ingredients have also changed. The old version contained whole milk powder and cane sugar. The new one contains skim milk powder and "cane syrup solids."
This type of thing is happening with a lot of products now. Smaller quantity, cheaper ingredients, but same price.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:42 PM
 
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,746 posts, read 3,155,086 times
Reputation: 3195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayarea4 View Post
Where did you hear that, psichick? I'm just curious. I have never had any issues with the quality of their products other than the fresh produce, which is sometimes not as high quality or as fresh as it should be. Some of their produce has gone bad soon after I bring it home. But for the most part, I've been happy with their merchandise . . . until now.
I know my mom told me about it, and she's constantly reading the news and watching things on tv. I'm wondering if it had to do with all the recalls they had on the Trader Joe products (the products they make themselves) a year or so ago. It was recall after recall after recall. Do you remember that? It was something about organic doesn't always mean safe. And stores like TJ's, Whole Foods, etc, have just as many recalls as regular stores, because the products are mass produced.

I'll ask her what she read or when. I just remember her warning me about all the recalls (as she knows I shop at TJ's a lot) and TJ's in general. Not that it's a bad place, but many people believe, because a lot of their stuff is organic, healthy, made in small quantities, etc that it's safe. Which isn't always true. Kind of like how you thought that you buy chicken from TJ's, it's safe. And it's not.

So, no hard evidence (that I know of), but it was more of an eye-opener, since most people think those types of places are "safer" when in fact, it may not be.
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:57 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,906 posts, read 5,559,080 times
Reputation: 52879
Thanks for the explanation, psichick. I don't remember that recall you referred to. What's ironic about the new, inferior Trader Joe's cocoa is that it is now labeled "organic." Usually that means higher quality, but in this case, definitely not.
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