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Townsend Farms organic frozen berries hepatitis A outbreak

At least 162 people, including 71 who were hospitalized, are part of a hepatitis A outbreak that has been traced to frozen mixed berries purchased from Costco stores. Hepatitis A cases associated with the outbreak have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries, containing cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries, is the source of the hepatitis A outbreak.

On June 4, Townsend Farms issued a recall of its frozen berry mix:

The product was sold at Costco warehouse stores under the product name Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, 3 lb. bag and UPC 0 78414 404448. The recalled codes are located on the back of the package with the words “BEST BY”; followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter. All of these letter designations are included in this recall for the lot codes listed above. The product was also sold at Harris Teeter stores from April 19 until May 7, 2013, under the product name Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend, 10 oz. bag and UPC 0 72036 70463 4, with Lot Codes of T041613E or T041613C and a “BEST BY” code of 101614.

Scenic Fruit Company Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels were also recalled for potential hepatitis A contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it was detaining shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat Ihracat Tic (Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading) of Turkey on June 29, 2013. The FDA and CDC determined that the hepatitis A outbreak was caused by pomegranate seeds imported by this company.

The Marler Clark law firm has filed 8 hepatitis A-related lawsuits against Townsend Farms, Inc. on behalf of individuals who became ill with hepatitis A. The law firm also filed 9 class action lawsuits on behalf of all individuals who received hepatitis A vaccination or inoculation with immune globulin to prevent hepatitis A infection. Anyone who sought testing for hepatitis A infection is also included in these class action lawsuits, filed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.

Early signs of Hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). It is very important if you have these symptoms that you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.

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