Costco recalled a brand of frozen berries that were linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak last Friday. The Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the source of the outbreak.
The brand of berries is linked to a five state outbreak is Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. The FDA and Center for Disease Control said the berry mix caused at least 30 illnesses. The mix contains cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries
In California, six illnesses were confirmed in persons who consumed the product. Five of these outbreaks occurred in Southern California. Three individuals were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported according to the California Department of Public Health.
“People who have bought this product should discard it if still found in their home,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer, Dr. Ron Chapman.
Several of those who fell ill bought the berry mix from Costco, according to the CDC. Costco removed the product from stores and is attempting to contact those who purchased it. Health officials are still investigating whether the berries could be sold at other stores.
The government has not announced a recall, but the CDC recommends that retailers should not serve or sell Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. The CDPH urges anyone who has consumed this product in the last 14 days to contact their doctor.
Nine of the people sickened were hospitalized, according to the CDC. Preliminary tests from two cases suggest the strain originated from North Africa and Middle Eastern regions.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease. People contract it when an infected food handler prepares food without proper hand hygiene. Food contaminated with the virus can also cause outbreaks.
Symptoms of the hepatitis A virus include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Symptoms develop two to six weeks after consuming contaminated food and can last from one week to several months. Most people recover completely, but sometimes hepatitis A can lead to hospitalization and severe illness, according to the CDPH.
– David Mariuz