San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public health

PriceSmart supermarkets in Costa Rica recall frozen tilapia fish

PriceSmart called on its customers who purchazed frozen raw tilapia in November to refrain from consuming it and return it to any of its stores to receive a full reimburse.

The supermarket chain also withdrew the full lot of tainted tilapia from its stores following a report from the Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) and the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) regarding higher than permitted levels of an antibiotic called sulfadiazine found on that lot.

The reimbursement will only apply for tilapia purchased between Nov. 7-24, under lot number 16080816172Y and with an expiration date of Aug. 7, 2018.

PriceSmart Inc. Executive Vice President Brud Drachman said in a written response to The Tico Times on Wednesday evening that this is a totally preventative recall.

“We have not received a single complaint regarding adverse effects,” he said.

Drachman said it’s PriceSmart’s understanding that “only consumption of extremely large quantities of the product, or by people extremely allergic to sulfadiazine, would be likely to produce any reaction.”

He noted that because adverse effects are possible, and some people may be allergic without knowing it, they want people to return the product for a refund.

“We will refund the tainted product with or without a receipt,” he said.

Fish farmers use small amounts of sulfadiazine as an antibacterial agent. Intake in humans can provoke side effects including diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting and dizziness.

Tilapia lot withdrawn

Marco Torres, PriceSmart’s manager for Costa Rica, told various media outlets that the company already withdrew the remainder of a 21-ton batch of raw tilapia from all six PriceSmart locations here.

He also said that neither MAG or SENASA officials found problems in any other lot of tilapia at their stores.

Torres said that in addition to social media posts, PriceSmart also made phone calls and sent emails asking customers to return the tilapia.

For further information about the recall you can contact PriceSmart at

Here’s the Facebook post from PriceSmart Costa Rica:

Contact L. Arias at

Comments are closed.

Marcelo Galli

Just the fact that the industry uses antibiotics (just as the chicken, pork and cattle industries do) means that the regular consumer is subjected to a constant low dosage. It may not affect as a pathogen would (stomach aches, dizziness, diarrhea, for example) but can produce antibiotic resistance in humans, as well as in the animals they dose. This is a major problem since it fosters the creation of superbugs, which can do a lot of damage to human health. See PEW report:

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Daniel Bizier

The article didn’t say the origin of the fish. Is it from China???I don’t know who would eat farm raised fish when there is so much fresh locally caught fish available in Costa Rica.

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