Martin Martinez of Fresno isn’t going to eat wild cod anytime soon, he said, especially after spotting a thin, dark-colored worm squirming in a package of fish he almost bought at Costco on West Shaw Avenue.
“Honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Martinez said Friday. “I was amazed, then disgusted. I had never seen anything like that before.”
A Costco official said that although it is uncommon to find a worm in a package of fish, it does happen on rare occasions, especially with certain types of fish.
The only reason I went to Costco was to buy dog food.
“With some wild species of fish you will see parasites every once in a while, but we work very hard with our supplier to check the fish twice before it arrives in the store,” said Craig Wilson, vice president of food safety and quality assurance for Costco. “I can’t say it never happens, but we try very hard to prevent it.”
Martinez, who owns a limo service in Fresno, said he was shopping at Costco with his girlfriend Jamie Ross on Tuesday when she suggested they buy some fish. As they looked at the selection, they noticed something moving inside one of the packages. He later handed the sealed package of “Fresh Wild Pacific Cod” to a store employee, but not before posting a live video of the wiggling worm on his Facebook page. He thought his friends would find it funny.
Since then, his worm video has been shared by more than 8,000 people, garnered more than 1,600 comments and has been viewed nearly 300,000 times.
In the video, Martinez and his girlfriend joke about how Costco is having a special on fish and it comes with live worms. Martinez said he didn’t intend to make anyone angry by posting the video, admitting that he got “chewed out” by several people for sharing it on Facebook.
“I like to laugh and joke around with my friends and that’s why I posted it,” he said. “I mean, the only reason I went to Costco was to buy dog food.”
With some wild species of fish you will see parasites every once in a while.
Craig Wilson, Costco
Martinez said he’s still a fan of Costco and doesn’t want people to think he was trying to get something from the store.
“I just wanted to make sure no one else picked up that package; that’s why I gave it to one of the workers,” he said. “I am going to keep going there as long as they don’t revoke my membership.”
Food safety experts strongly recommend that meat, fish included, be cooked to the proper temperature to kill any potential pathogens or parasites, such as worms. The Food and Drug Administration recommends fish be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. The website www.seafoodhealthfacts.org states that all living organisms, including fish, can have parasites, but that those parasites are generally not a concern if the fish is cooked properly. Food safety experts do, however, recommend caution when eating raw fish.