Organic Costco Berries Linked to Hepatitis A

Feds issue warning about Townsend brand after 30 illnesses
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 1, 2013 7:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – The FDA is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen organic berry mix sold by an Oregon company. Thirty illnesses are linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, which contains pomegranate seed mix. Illnesses were reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Several of those who fell ill reported buying the berry mix at Costco, according to the CDC. Costco has removed the product from stores and is attempting to contact members who purchased the product in recent months.

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Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can last from a few weeks to a several months. People often contract it when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. Food already contaminated with the virus also can cause outbreaks. The government has not announced a recall, but the CDC recommended that retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve the Townsend blend. A lawyer for Townsend said the frozen organic blend bag includes pomegranate seeds from Turkey. (Read more hepatitis A stories.)

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