Turn away if you happen to be reading this while eating seafood…or any food, really. Binh Nguyen of Spartanburg, South Carolina, posted a stomach turning sight he witnessed at his local Costco store.
In the footage, you can see a live, wriggling, orange worm in a package of Kirkland “Fresh Wild Pacific True Cod.” Under the Facebook video, Binh writes, “Looks careful when buying "fresh" fishes at local Costco or you will find this!!! Im quitting sushi for now lol. This vid was taken few days ago at Costco Store in Spartanburg SC btw.” Nguyen posted the video (you can watch here) on March 14 and it has already racked up over 270,000 shares. While five people have given the post a “like,” it’s probably safe to say that most people are less enthusiastic about what they saw.
WSPA 7 On Your Side took viewers concerns about food safety, in cases like the one Nguyen witnessed, to Costco executives. They spoke to the Costco Vice President of Quality Assurance and Food Safety, Craig Wilson, who confirmed that the nematode, or parasitic roundworm, was found in the Kirkland package of wild pacific cod earlier this month. Wilson gave the station an unsettling comment saying, “Although it's quite frankly disgusting, I wish I could tell you that it was very, very uncommon.” Wilson added that cod, like other groundfish, are prone to nematodes.
Now, before you turn away from groundfish forever, know that when the fish is cooked thoroughly, the nematodes are not dangerous. It may also help to know that there are people whose sole job is to keep us protected from the squirming parasites (by the way, sole is also a groundfish). ‘Candling,’ is a process the fish go through, wherein they are layed out on a lit table and inspected. Wilson said, "Around these conveyor tables are employees of the seafood company that are doing nothing but looking for parasites."
While it’s rare for the inspectors to miss one of the parasites, even if they do slip by, Wilson emphasized that, “Typically these parasites don’t represent a health problem at all, unless people are eating raw cod.”
According to Wilson, the package of cod seen in the video was not sold. The Costco VP of Quality Assurance and Food Safety said that they are reviewing their inspection process to avoid a repeat of this in the future.