Trader Joe's Recalls Its Broccoli Cheddar Soup Over Insect Infestation

Despite the rigorous approval process every Trader Joe's item goes through before launch, it seems the grocery chain may need to be a bit more stringent about product quality after an item is successfully added to the shelves. In its second recall this monthTrader Joe's has called for all packages of its Unexpected Broccoli Cheddar Soup with use-by dates between July 18 to September 15, 2023 to be discarded or refunded as they "may contain insects." 

According to the FDA, the recall was voluntarily initiated on July 10 by Winter Gardens Quality Foods, a Pennsylvania-based food manufacturer that supplies TJ's with the product. Winter Gardens reports that the broccoli florets are the ingredient that was found to be infested, and the company advises customers to keep the packages sealed and refrigerated until they are disposed of or turned in for a refund. The recall was officially handed down by the FDA on July 26 and the agency notes the affected shipments are limited to seven states: Florida, Illinois, California, Texas, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

Bug-infested frozen broccoli florets

Unfortunately, neither the company statement nor the FDA report specified what kind of insects were found in the soup. But given that the FDA has classified it as a Class III Recall — the lowest risk classification — it's safe to assume the soup hasn't been infested with highly poisonous or life-threatening disease vector insects. The most likely candidate would be an infestation of aphids, which are notorious for hiding inside frozen broccoli florets but pose virtually zero health risks to humans. So far, Trader Joe's claims that "no known adverse health effects have been reported to date."

However, it's important to note that the FDA already accounts for a "safe" amount of insects in all frozen produce: The fact that the Broccoli Cheddar Soup recall received a classification at all means the amount found in the product exceeds what the FDA allows and poses an unlikely but real potential risk. While you likely won't need to schedule a hospital visit if you've accidentally had some of the soup, it's best to pack it back up and bring it back to Trader Joe's as soon as possible.