Costco’s free food samples are being pulled from some of its stores as coronavirus worries grow

Costco is known for offering free samples in its stores. Tim Boyle / Staff / Getty Images
  • Costco is no longer serving free food samples at some of its stores around the world as a hygiene measure against the novel coronavirus.
  • Representatives for the company that handles Costco’s product demonstrations in certain countries confirmed that it had pulled samples from stores in the US and China.
  • A spokesperson for Costco was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Costco’s free food samples have become an iconic part of its image and a key reason why its megafans stay so loyal to the chain. But in recent weeks, some shoppers have raised concerns about whether the warehouse chain should be serving up these tasty bites amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“Eating samples from the same tray and then we put the food in our mouths and lick our fingers/wipe our mouths and go on to the next sample tray… Everyone is at Costco right now… This is how stuff travels fast,” one shopper wrote on Reddit this week.

It seems that Costco has taken note and has temporarily stopped handing out samples in some of its stores around the world.

Reports of this first surfaced on Reddit on Thursday. One Reddit user, whose spouse works as a manager at a Costco store on the West Coast told Business Insider that his spouse was told by the warehouse manager that they would be suspending the production demonstrations until further notice.

Costco was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider to confirm whether all US stores are going to be impacted.

CDS, the company hired by Costco to handle its samples across several different countries, was also not immediately available to comment in the US.

However, a representative for CDS France said that they were aware that demonstrations in the US had been pulled and were awaiting instruction in their own country. CDS Spain confirmed it was business as usual in their own region.

A representative for CDS China, where Costco has one store, said they are no longer allowed to hand out samples; this representative would not confirm when this came into effect.

And it’s business as usual in the UK, according to two employees at its stores in Croydon and Milton Keynes who told Business Insider on Friday that samples are still being handed out despite concerns about the spread of the virus in the UK.