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Costco Taiwan to cover medical costs for consumers of contaminated cheese

1,300 Costco Taiwan members bought Formaggio mozzarella cheese tainted with ethylene oxide

Costco Taiwan recalled product. (Facebook, photo)

Costco Taiwan recalled product. (Facebook, photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Costco Taiwan announced on Monday (July 10) that it will not only refund customers who purchased a mozzarella cheese product that was found to contain a carcinogen, but it will also cover medical expenses if they become ill as a result of consuming the food.

Consumers received a notice from Costco Taiwan that it was recalling a cheese product that was found to contain ethylene oxide (EtO), which is listed as a cancer-causing substance by the National Institute for Health (NIH). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday (July 8) confirmed that Costco Taiwan had recalled marinated mozzarella made by the American manufacturer Formaggio, per CNA.

The products that tested positive for EtO were part of a batch that weighed 913.9 kg. Since only 156.4 kg remained on store shelves, 757.5 kg had been sold to consumers.

Costco said members who purchased "Formaggio Marinated Mozzarella (marinated cheese)" between May 24 and July 1, 2023 can receive a refund by presenting their receipt and membership card. If they still have unfinished portions of the product, they can also return them to a local Costco for processing.

A total of 1,300 Costco members are believed to have purchased it. Costco said it is following guidelines from regulatory authorities, and Costco representatives have also met with consumer protection officials.

The warehouse club added that if members experience symptoms of discomfort after consuming the product, they should seek medical treatment. If a diagnosis confirms that their illness is from the cheese product, they are asked to contact Costo, and the firm will take responsibility for covering related medical expenses.

The main source of EtO is believed to be vanilla extract, one of the item's ingredients. Although traces of EtO are permitted in some U.S. foods, it is banned by Taiwan's FDA.

Costco pledged that in the future, it will confirm with suppliers whether there are any issues regarding EtO in cheese and sauce products containing vanilla as an ingredient. It added that its quality control team will also review the annual inspection plan and include EtO in the testing process.

Costco Taiwan to cover medical costs for consumers of contaminated cheese
List of ingredients in product. (Facebook, photo)

Costco Taiwan to cover medical costs for consumers of contaminated cheese
Price and description of product. (Facebook, photo)