After a controversial social media statement made by the owner of a fan-favorite cheese brand, Costco has abruptly removed the company's cheese from their stores. (To find out which items may soon be gone from grocery stores, check out 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)
In August, Brian Henry, mayor of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, and the owner of Palmetto Cheese, caused widespread disapproval and calls for a boycott when he published a statement on his Facebook page calling the Black Lives Matter movement a "terror organization." And it looks like Costco has paid close attention to the public outcry, because the chain has reportedly removed Palmetto's popular pimento cheese from all 120 of its locations that carried it.
The "pimento cheese with soul", as the packaging calls it, has been pulled from Costco's shelves and website overnight, but the company still hasn't clarified whether the removal is temporary or permanent.
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But it does seem like the retailer wanted to make it clear to their customers that the shortage of said cheese they are about to encounter wasn't an accident. In a statement posted on the shelf next to the remaining Palmetto products spotted at one location, the retailer said: "The * (asterisk) on this sign means that these 2 items are discontinued and will not be re-ordered by Costco. Over 120 Costco's throughout the US are no longer carrying this item."
While Henry confirmed the chain cut his products from their lineup, he had a much more optimistic view. "Costco rotates items in and out during the course of the year. They will occasionally add and drop products as a matter of normal business. We remain optimistic that Palmetto Cheese will be back on the shelves in the not too distant future," he told media outlets.
The focus on the pimento cheese product has also brought into question its origin. After allegations that the original recipe for it was "stolen" from Vertrella Brown, a Black employee of the brand whose likeness is used on the product's packaging, Henry denied the accusations in a press conference. "Unfortunately, there have been comments on social media and news outlets falsely suggesting that Vertrella Brown created the recipe for Palmetto Cheese. However, that is simply not true. The recipe for Palmetto Cheese is, and always has been, Sassy Henry's recipe," he stated, crediting his wife with inventing the winning cheese formula.
He also announced that a rebranding effort aiming "to be more sensitive to cultural diversity" is underway for Palmetto Cheese. To learn what other food brands have changed the names and packaging of their products this year due to racial insensitivity, check out 10 Groceries You'll Never Find Under the Same Name Again.
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