TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday (May 17) announced that frozen strawberries sold by Costco Taiwan had tested positive for hepatitis A, and the FDA has halted frozen berry import inspections for the company until it submits a complete investigation report.
The FDA said in addition to Kirkland's mixed berries and blueberries, the brand's "Grade A Fancy Strawberries" imported from Mexico were found on Tuesday (May 16) to be contaminated with hepatitis A. The FDA emphasized that Costco Taiwan removed the strawberries from shelves on April 30, and they are no longer being sold on the Taiwan market.
As of Tuesday, a total of 49,168 kg of Kirkland Signature frozen berry products have been recalled by Costco, including 24,090 kg of "Three Berry Blend," 23,676 kg of "Whole Blueberries," and 1,403 kg of "Grade A Fancy Strawberries," according to the FDA.
The FDA said the frozen Mexican strawbarriers were sold in 2.72 kg packages and have an expiration date of Aug. 5, 2024.
At a press conference, Wei Jen-ting (魏任廷), an official with the FDA's Southern Center for Regional Administration, said the samples were taken from products placed on the off-shelf storage area and Costco Taiwan suspended sales of the item on April 30, reported CNA.
The health department on May 5 requested that all Kirkland Signature frozen berry products be recalled, and subsequent actions will be taken by the health department in accordance with the law, said Wei. He added that Costco Taiwan had purchased a total of 1,546 packs of strawberry products with the August expiration date, and it estimates that 1,513 bags had been sold.
FDA Deputy Director Lin Chin-fu (林金富) said he was dissatisfied with the report provided by Costco Taiwan on May 10 as it did not fully clarify the cause of the contamination. Therefore, Lin said that Costco Taiwan is required to submit a report on a complete investigation before May 31, and in the meantime, it will stop accepting import inspections of the company's related products until this report is submitted.
Front of package of Kirkland Signature "Grade A Fancy Strawberries" bag. (FDA photo)
Back of package of Kirkland Signature "Grade A Fancy Strawberries" bag. (FDA photos)