"I don't take kindly to people telling me how to live my life," one Forever 21 customer wrote to the brand, after receiving an Atkins bar sample in their shipment

By Dave Quinn
July 24, 2019 09:56 AM
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Forever 21 is apologizing to its customers for including free samples of Atkins nutrition bars with its online orders — including plus-size clothing.

The retailer came under fire recently when shoppers complained on social media that they felt “triggered” by the inclusion of the food item, slamming the brand for “fat-shaming” and “body-shaming” its customers.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, Forever 21 said they have removed the samples from future shipments, apologizing to customers for any offense they may have caused.

“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders,” the company said. “The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed.”

Maciej Gillert/Gallo Images Poland/Getty

“This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way,” Forever 21 added.

Many of the online complaints from Forever 21 customers included photographs of the packaged Atkins Lemon Bars — a low-carb, high-protein snack advertised as a way to “satisfy your hunger.”

Atkins also issued a statement on Tuesday, obtained by PEOPLE.

“Today’s Atkins is focused on a lifestyle nutritional approach where everyone can benefit from overall health and wellbeing,” the said. “Our brand evolution is reflected in the current marketing efforts to highlight the health benefits of eating a low carb/low sugar Atkins lifestyle, with a portfolio of nutritious and delicious snacks for everyone. The intention of sampling Atkins products is to share snacks that taste great with optimal nutritional benefit.”