Three days after the FDA and CDC announced a suspected link between a frozen berry mix and the contagious liver disease, hepatitis A, the product has been pulled off the shelves of Costco and East coast-based Harris Teeter stores, and a warning has been issued for consumers.
The frozen berry mix, called the Organic Antioxidant Blend, is a product of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon, and is packaged under the Townsend Farms brand name at Costco, and the Harris Teeter brand at those stores.
There have already been 34 reported cases of hepatitis A linked to the product in five states—Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Three more patients with the disease who ate the frozen berry product are also being tested.
The CDC has stated that this particular strain of hepatitis A typically originates out of North Africa and the Middle East, and the exact ingredient responsible for spreading the disease is believed to be pomegranate seeds from Turkey.
Bill Gaar, a Townsend Farms lawyer, responded to The Coloradoan last week, saying, “We do have very good records, we know where the (pomegranate seeds) came from, we’re looking into who the broker is and we’re sourcing it back up the food chain to get to it.”
Two previous hepatitis A outbreaks this past year—in British Columbia and Europe—were also linked to pomegranate seeds from the Middle East.
Hepatitis A typically appears within 15 to 50 days of exposure, and known symptoms are fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, pale stool, and abnormal liver test results.
A vaccination given within two weeks of exposure can prevent the disease from developing further, and if you have already had a vaccination it is unlikely you will contract it, according to the CDC.
If you or someone you know recently ate the Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix by Townsend Farms and begin experiencing one of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
And if you are diagnosed with hepatitis A, consider contacting product liability attorney to talk about receiving compensation for medical treatment, lost time at work, and pain and suffering.