In a perfect example of why it always pays to be attentive, Whole Foods Markets Inc. could soon feel the wrath of vitriolic vegans after a label mix-up on Tuesday and Wednesday had many meat-free shoppers walking out of the store with real chicken in their salads.

The Austin-based natural food giant revealed Friday that a number of stores in the northeast were supplied two salads with mismatched labels. A total of 15 stores throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York sold the mislabeled curried chicken salad and vegan curried "chick'n" salad after a company-owned commissary accidentally swapped the labels.

While backlash from the vegetarian community may be forthcoming, Whole Foods could potentially find itself in a much bigger bind. Because of the mix-up, egg allergens in the chicken salad and soy allergens in the vegan salad went undeclared. Both ingredients can cause severe or even life-threatening reactions in people who are allergic. At this time, the company says no illnesses have been reported.

According to Whole Foods, some of the affected salads were sold at the cold food bars where customers can put as much of the salad as they want into a container and have it weighed at the register. In other store locations, the salads were sold in pre-weighted containers in the prepared food sections. It was not until an employee working in one of the prepared food sections noticed the mistake that it was brought to the company's attention.

Whole Foods has since issued a recall of the curried chicken salad and vegan salad, and is offering a full refund to consumers who wish to return the affected items.

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