No more breakfast tacos at Whole Foods. I want to die.

NOT VEGAN! Not even vegetarian… Shame on you Whole Foods

If there is one thing that makes me happy in this life it is breakfast tacos and now that love has been UTTERLY BETRAYED by a giant corporation. And I know, I should know better than to trust a freaking corporation that serves meat, hates fat people, and is anti-union. But when the flagship Whole Foods opened on Lamar a few years back I couldn’t help but become a regular. I work down the street and the miles of vegan food stuffs, the coffee bar with soy & coconut creamer, and most importantly, their cheap, delicious and extremely vegan friendly breakfast taco bar. OR SO I THOUGHT!

This is a taco bar that seems to do everything right, they have the tofu scramble, the vegan chorizo, and vegan cheese all in the back so they won’t cross contaminate when they inevitably drop things in when reaching across. Since I go there all the time I sometimes forget and just order cheese, and they say “vegan cheese?” or “vegan chorizo”, “oh yes thank you” I say. They have several salsas and I know which ones aren’t vegan because the employees made sure I knew. The taco bar has free kale, vegetables, two kinds of vegan cheese, and more options for a vegan breakfast tacos than just about anywhere in town. I go there so often that I set my phone to say “does anyone want anything from Whole Foods” by just typing WFrun into my phone when I’m texting my coworkers in the morning. I’ve probably blogged about them a hundred times because they are my favorite way to start the day.

And now I learn they have been serving me potatoes cooked in meat.

For years.

I’m not vegan, I’m not even close! 30% of my diet is Whole Foods tacos!

It’s one thing to accidentally eat something cooked in meat at a small town family owned restaurant or even a taco stand where people don’t speak a lot of English. But for the flagship Whole Foods, a store that LABELS THE FUCK out of every little thing to knowingly serve the zillion vegetarians that patronize the taco stand potatoes cooked in meat is shameful and insulting.

I am completely disgusted with myself and with them. I never even thought I could feel betrayed by a restaurant but there it is.

I don’t even know if I will be able to drive down Lamar anymore.

I don’t even know if I can live in Austin anymore!

This is a living nightmare.  

UPDATE 8/27 Whole Foods confirmed the post below in the comments.

Laura Benold, Whole Foods MarketAugust 27, 2013 at 6:10 am

I’m sorry to hear about any verbal miscommunication about the potatoes at Whole Foods Market taco bar. Because they are cooked in the same oil with meat, they are not vegan.

Even though the potatoes aren’t labeled vegan, nothing on the taco bar is and I find it very deceptive to the many many  vegetarian customers to not be more upfront about their meaty potatoes.

UPDATE 9/27 I learned that it is a shared fryer situation not a cooked in meat fat situation so I am not as mad as when I wrote this post. I still think they should be explicit on the taco bar about what is and isn’t vegan


30 thoughts on “No more breakfast tacos at Whole Foods. I want to die.

  1. Kylie

    Those farging ice holes!! I am sad for you because the way you described those tacos had me drooling a little. Until the potato part. Dicks.

  2. erinwyso

    This reminds me of the time I ordered refried bean tacos at a Mexican restaurant with no cheese because WHY WOULD BEANS NEED MEAT IN THEM, felt some weird bits, then a rotten taste. When I asked what was in the beans, they told me they were soaked in pork. I went to the bathroom just in time to throw up. WHY CAN’T ANYTHING NOT HAVE MEAT IN IT?

  3. Celeste

    Hmm, as upsetting as this news seems to be, I’m waiting to freak out until this is confirmed. I have dealt with WF as a vendor and they are very thorough with checking ingredients. Keep us updated on what corporate has to say!

  4. carathielvoldt

    I am allergic to chicken so I unfortunately really know when things are contaminated with that. I got chicken poisoned at an Indian restaurant when I ordered grilled veggies. I thought Indian restaurants would be more honest about this bc being vegetarian for religious reasons is kind of big in the Indian culture? This reminded me of your situation. I would be pissed to. I’m sorry.

  5. Lizz Clements

    You’d think that they’d have to put it in the ingredients or something. I’m not surprised really, considering the issues they’ve been having mislabeling Beyond Meat. And people wonder why I don’t eat at non vegetarian restaurants unless absolutely necessary.

  6. MeShell

    Unbelievable! Like Lizz mentions, I’ve been seeing so much stuff about their beyond meat labeling issues (they continue) that it’s not surprising… but WHAT THE HECK Whole Foods. Why ruin a beautiful potato in such a fashion? blah

  7. fairlyoddtofumom

    Wait, so they’re cooked “in the same oil”? Like deep fried?
    Don’t pretty much ALL places that offer deep-fried foods cook them in the same oil?
    I thought that was just an assumed hazard of eating “vegan” foods from a fryer – assuming they’re cooked in the same vat as the meat items?
    Maybe I’m wrong (and in no way trying to diminish your loss) but I had always thought most vegans were OK with this?
    I don’t eat commercially fried foods, so haven’t run into this issue personally – But in all seriousness, I’ve worked food service long enough to know that anything fried has probably shared the same oil as meat…
    When I go to the State Fair with VERY careful vegan friends, they all happily order french fries (that are obviously cooked alongside corn dogs); when I go to non-vegan restaurants with friends, they’ll question the coating of the onion rings or the seasoning of the burrito, but not the oil it’s fried in?
    Mcdonald’s got in trouble for adding Beef flavoring/extract TO their fries. Most stores now fry their fries separately as well, but many smaller mall-food-court-stores do not. Not that we’re all running to buy fries at McDonald’s, but after the big deal with their fries, people were quick to announce what fast-food franchises DID have “vegetarian” fries (even though most, if not all, at the time, fried theirs with the meat items).
    Rather than assuming stores will label their foods, I think we should just assume that any commercially purchased, deep-fried item is probably fried with the meat items unless otherwise SPECIFICALLY specified. Many establishments only have one fryer.

    1. lazysmurf Post author

      I’m still not sure, the way it was described at the store was that they were cooked in the meat’s grease which I took to mean pan fried because I didn’t think they deep fried sausage and bacon in fryers.

    2. fairlyoddtofumom

      Ah! Right! Well, that makes more sense. Though wouldn’t they TASTE “meaty”? And again, i could be wrong, but usually doesn’t something cooked in bacon fat taste, well… like bacon?
      At any rate, they shouldn’t have done WHATEVER they did! Makes a person wonder if the “beyond meat” they sell in the wraps is cooked on the same grill space as meat? Is the tofu scrambled in the same pan as the eggs? Wondering what you CAN trust about WF? (Not that I shop there anyway – can you tell I’m basically paranoid about everything? Ha!)

  8. Dave

    I work at WFM and I believe this to be a store-specific incident. I know for a fact that the tots and potatoes cooked in our kitchens are cooked in the designated “vegetable”. It surprises me that the flagship made such a horrid decision.

    1. l.

      i’ve now spoken with four different people at the store and each and every one has told me that it’s simply not true.
      the potatoes at the breakfast taco bar are quickly deep fried in a blended vegetable oil and to cooked in ‘meat grease.’
      according to two of the folks i spoke to, it’s simply not possible with the way they cook them and the policy is strict when it comes to contamination that any batch of veggie foods that gets contaminated with meat products is to be trashed and a new batch made.
      so, honestly, i’m inclined to lean towards that and not be all that worried.

  9. Mark

    Honestly I was pretty worried as I read the beginning of this article. I’m kind of relieved that I can just avoid potatoes and that the only problem was that they may have been cooked in the same oil (that’s my hope, cooking them in meat juice instead of oil would be a lot worse).

    Anyway, I guess I’m having a different reaction than most vegans to this news. I’m not too upset by the same oil though I will avoid that in the future now that I know.

  10. Sue Purr

    Most places that serve animal products share cutting boards, utensils, oil, etc. with veg products. I once got a piece of chicken in my “vegan” dish at a popular restaurant. They had used the same pan over and over. You never know what goes on behind the scenes and most small kitchens only have one deep fryer- they are expensive and a pain to clean out.

    1. lazysmurf Post author

      I don’t think of whole foods as a small place and I don’t know that they are cooked a deep fat fryer because I don’t think that’s how they make the bacon.

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