Girardi | Keese

Recent recall gives Costco members reason for concern

For anyone in the state of California with a Costco membership, the name of the company is usually synonymous with quality food at a good value. But that impression could be tainted this month after the wholesale store announced a food-safety recall for one of its products.

The recent product recall was issued for the Formaggio-brand Artisan Wraps. The product, a wedge of fresh mozzarella wrapped in a slice of Italian meat, was recalled after certain batches of the product tested positive for Listeria. Although the recall at present time only affects Canadian warehouses, there is a strong possibility that American locations, including those here in California, may decide to pull the product as a precaution.

Food safety is always a concern for Costco but is often times difficult to control when it comes to vendor products such as the one currently being recalled. It's often times hard to detect contamination until it's too late; and especially in the case of Listeria, it may not be detected until someone falls ill after consuming the contamination.

According to several medical sources, Listeria is difficult for consumers to detect because a food may not even look or smell spoiled in anyway. It's only until after eating the product that people experience a severe headache, a high fever, nausea, and neck stiffness. Pregnant women and people with weak immune systems are most vulnerable and can have serious, and sometimes fatal, reactions to the food-borne illness.

Although no one is reported to have become seriously sick as a result of eating the recalled item, to avoid any risk, consumers are asked to throw the item away or return it to Costco. For Costco members here in California, whether this could become a concern here will continue to be a dangerous waiting game.

Source: CBC News, "Costco recalls deli meat product over Listeria concerns," The Canadian Press, Mar. 13, 2013

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