Sunday, December 23, 2012

Costco's Kirkland Signature brand is sending mixed quality signals

Chicken wings for under $2.30 a pound at Costco Wholesale.


Kirkland Signature is the premium house brand at Costco Wholesale, but members are discovering the quality of products carrying that name isn't always the highest.

Last week, my wife came home with a 10-pound bag of Kirkland Signature Chicken Wings for $22.99 or less than $2.30 a pound, an unusually low price when compared to supermarket wings.

For a reason that eludes me, supermarkets charge more for chicken wings than for other, meatier parts, including drumsticks and thighs.

But with the Kirkland Signature wings, only the price is special

The wings are from chickens raised on antibiotics that have proven harmful to humans.

The same can be said of Costco's wildly popular, fully cooked Kirkland Signature Rotisserie Chicken, which is raised on antibiotics and non-vegetarian feed.

The ingredients label of Costco's rotisserie chicken should give you pause.

It doesn't make sense for Costco to sell inferior chicken wings and rotisserie chicken under the Kirkland Signature label side by side with other, high-quality products, including:

Preservative-free, smoked wild sockeye salmon from Alaska; a spread made from organic fresh strawberries, and organic diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Kirkland Signature also offers premium Green Tea Matcha Blend from Ito En, made with 100% Japanese tea leaves; organic low-fat milk and other items. 

When my wife wanted to buy more chicken wings from Costco, I told her to get antibiotic-free Empire kosher chicken.

But she couldn't find any Empire wings, and I couldn't find antibiotic-free or organic wings at the Paramus ShopRite.

The first time my wife brought home the Kirkland Signature wings she said she has assumed all along that Costco sells only naturally raised food at low prices.

Sadly, she is mistaken. Costco is not above trying to hide low quality under its Kirkland Signature label.

Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Not sure how nourishing the wings are but they are not ready to cook right out of the pack. It took me about one hour to pick the the feathers off the wings.(10# bag). The feathers were a little stubborn as they had been frozen.

  2. The wing say all natural have I been fooled?

    1. "All natural" is a meaningless phrase. So, the answer is yes. Look for "no antibiotics administered" and "vegetarian diet" and so forth.

    2. Where exactly on the label it is mentioned that this chicken was raised on antibiotics?

    3. It's what isn't on the label. Chicken that is raised without antibiotics carries a label saying so.

    4. All chicken is antibiotic free. No antibiotic residues are present in the meat due to the withdrawal periods and other precautions required by the government.

    5. That is completely false. I've read numerous Consumer Reports warnings about how animal antibiotics in the chicken and meat we consume are making prescribed antibiotics ineffective.

  3. To an anonymous commenter:

    Sending me more propaganda from the National Chicken Council doesn't add anything to the discussion.

  4. Chickens are not vegetarian.

    1. Why are you mentioning that?

      Of course, when they are allowed to roam free, they eat bugs and other insects. But the millions of chickens raised indoors eat grain, animal byproducts (bits of dead animals) and other crap.

      We buy only those raised on a vegetarian diet and without antibotics.

  5. Well, Kirkland clearly states that those wings come "No added hormones or steroids"

    1. No chicken producer is allowed to raise the birds on hormones or steroids, so the claims are meaningless.

      You want to see "no antibiotics ever" or something like that.

      The use of human antibiotics to raise farm animals is leading to a growing antibiotic resistance among humans to the drugs prescribed by their doctors.

      Consumer Reports magazine, which you might find at your library, is the leading publication on how our food is raised. The reports are shocking.

  6. Anonymous states that:
    "All chicken is antibiotic free. No antibiotic residues are present in the meat due to the withdrawal periods and other precautions required by the government."

    However, according to this article by, USDA does not recognize those statements as valid. Food labels phrased "all natural", "antibiotic free", and "No antibiotic residues" are deemed meaningless by governmental and agricultural agencies and affiliates.

    So what this anonymous person just did was verify that the chicken from Costco is in fact treated with antibiotics, by marketing it in a roundabout way to make it seem like Costco's chicken is not riddled with antibiotics.

    Useful/Approved labels:
    Organic - you know for sure it was not treated with antibiotics, ever
    No Antibiotics administered

    Useful - yet may not be verified:
    No antibiotics/ever
    No added antibiotics/ever
    No antibiotics administered/ever
    Never any antibiotics administered
    Never given antibiotics
    Humanely raised without antibiotics

    Unapproved/Meaningless Labels:
    Antibiotic Free
    No Antibiotic Residues
    No Antibiotic Growth Promotants


    1. Thanks. I also recommend that Consumer Reports investigation to everyone.

      Consumer Union, which publishes the magazine, has called on Trader Joe's to stop selling meat and poultry raised on antibiotics, but so far has been ignored.

      Now, when you shop at Trader Joe's, you have to look at every label to make sure the item you want is naturally raised.

      For example, Trader Joe's beef hot dogs are naturally raised, but not the jumbo ones.

  7. Yes, Costco provides products in quantities that have no reason to exist, unless you go home to a family of 37. But you need that Kirkland like Cleveland Cavaliers needed Lebron James. Pour me a drink from the handle of Kirkland French Vodka, and hand over the jars of mixed nuts. Yeah, the 12-pack.

    Gretta Hewson
    Veritable Senior Housing Seattle website

    1. You must have had a couple before you wrote this. But you made me laugh; I usually don't OK comments that steer my blog readers to commercial sites, but a senior housing community seems harmless enough.


    2. Please take a look at my new blog, which includes food, restaurants, the president, electric cars, jazz and other topics:



Please try to stay on topic.