TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday (Sept. 13) announced that plastic foreign objects were found in Costco Taiwan's brand of sparkling water, and over 2,000 packages of the product have been recalled.
The FDA stated that two batches, equivalent to 2,520 packages, of potentially contaminated products were removed from store shelves, reported CNA. Since Costco voluntarily reported the issue to regulatory authorities, the FDA said that no fines would be imposed, unless it is found they violated other regulations.
Costco Taiwan has faced a number of food safety problems within a matter of months. In April and May, Costco recalled frozen berries that tested positive for hepatitis A, while in July and August, it recalled cheese tainted with ethylene oxide.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Wei Jen-ting (魏任廷), an official with the FDA's Southern Center for Regional Administration, said the agency had received reports from store members suspecting the presence of plastic foreign matter in Costco-branded Kirkland Signature Italian Sparkling Mineral Water.
A preliminary investigation suggested that the issue may be related to the manufacturing process of the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. Wei said it is possible that delamination occurred, or that plastic foreign matter was introduced when filling the bottles.
Wei said that the health department in Kaohsiung City, where Costco Taiwan's head office is located, conducted an inventory check, and 1,504 packages have been removed from shelves, and the recalls will continue. In addition to notifying members, the recall information has been posted on the company's official website.
According to the provisions of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食品安全衛生管理法), when businesses discover products that may pose a threat to health and safety, they should proactively report and recall them. Costco reported the issue to the regulatory authority at 5 p.m. on Sept. 12.
However, if consumers file additional complaints and the business fails to report them, penalties could be imposed, said Wei.