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Costco Customers Reporting Stomach Issues After Eating Rotisserie Chicken

Several shoppers said they've experienced digestive issues.

Praised for its versatility, taste, and bargain price of $4.99, there's no denying that Costco's rotisserie chicken is one of the retailer's most legendary items of all time. But for some Costco shoppers, consuming these famous roasted birds comes with a major downside.

This week, a Costco customer shared on Reddit that they've experienced undesirable side effects like diarrhea and gas every time they eat the retailer's rotisserie chicken. As it turns out, that customer wasn't the only Costco patron who consistently deals with stomach issues after consuming the popular poultry.

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"I have this problem with the rotisserie chickens too OP, so you're not alone," a Redditor commented.

"OMG same! My wife and I thought we were crazy, they wreck both of us," another wrote.

The post sparked a wide discussion about why the popular Costco item might be having such an unsavory effect on digestion. Some Redditors speculated that the fat or seasonings in the chickens were to blame. Others wondered if carrageenan, one of the ingredients in Costco's rotisserie chickens, was the culprit. And this theory may not be entirely off base.

Carrageenan is a food additive derived from seaweed that is sometimes used as a stabilizing and emulsifying agent, according to Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, nutrition consultant and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and The Portion Teller Plan. Young explained that people have reported side effects like bloating and cramps after ingesting carrageenan, and "found relief when they discontinued carrageenan-containing products."

"However, no studies on carrageenan's effect on digestion have been conducted on humans," Young said.

While it can't be said for certain that the carrageenan in Costco's chicken is to blame, Young advised people experiencing stomach issues to limit their consumption or cut the poultry out of their diet altogether. She also noted that Costco's chicken is high in salt, which is another factor that "may be problematic" for the people who consume it.

"If it bothers you, avoid it or have a small amount. Many people overeat chicken thinking they can eat as much as they want. This is problematic," she said.

This isn't the only time that Costco's rotisserie chickens have received considerable attention for a negative reason this year. Back in March, the popular birds came under intense scrutiny after customers began reporting an off-putting "chemical" taste in the poultry.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe