A woman is claiming to have found a live worm in a package of fish she purchased from Costco two weeks ago.
Emily Randolph of Frederick, Maryland, bought a 2-pound package of fresh wild Atlantic cod at Costco on February 9, FOX 5 reported.
Randolph said she planned to cook the fish a few days later, before the February 12 “Sell By” date, but the fish began to smell bad. That’s when she and her husband looked closer at the package and discovered a live worm in the corner of the wrapped package.
“It was big,” said Randolph to FOX 5. “I have even Googled it since then and that was a very large worm. It should have been caught before it was put out to the public to potentially eat.”
Randolph brought the fish package back to Costco and received a full refund. However, Randolph was disgusted to learn she was not the first customer to return fish for this reason.
“We were returning cod, but the person before us had just returned salmon that had worms in it,” Randolph said, the girl behind the counter told her.
Randolph took a recording of the wiggling parasite before returning the fish and posted the video on Facebook.
“Bought this at the Costco in Frederick, MD. When we took the video to Costco to get our money back the girl behind the counter said someone had just returned salmon with worms in it. No apologies at all. She acted as if this happens all the time. I’m so grossed out. Check your food people!!!!” she captioned the post.
Her Facebook video went viral soon after that with nearly 6,000 shares and 375,000 views as of Sunday morning.
Though some were equally as “grossed out” as Randolph, many were more shocked that she didn’t know that raw fish contained parasites like worms.
“Fun fact raw fish is filled with parasites,” one said.
“I’m surprised this many people didn’t know that most wild caught fish contain worms or parasites. That’s why you need to cook it thoroughly,” Facebook user Lori Robinson said.
“Cod is one of the fish that contains the most worms. Most times you won’t see them as they are embedded in the fish.”
Another responded to Robinson, writing, “Used to work in a seafood dept. You are correct! Cod is one of the fish that contains the most worms. Most times you won’t see them as they are embedded in the fish.”
Parasites are found in bottom feeders like cod, but “those worms will be killed if you properly cook fish and they shouldn’t cause any symptoms at all,” Kathryn Kirk, a gastroenterologist in the D.C. area told FOX 5.
The proper cooking for a cod and other fish, according to a health spokeswoman, is to bring the fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for a minimum of 15 seconds to kill off any parasites.
Costco told FOX 5 that they inspect all fish and work to remove any parasites, but sometimes one will slip through the cracks.
Randolph just hopes people learn from her and “check [their] food” before eating.
The Frederick County Health Department is currently investigating Randolph’s claims.