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Hepatitis A linked to frozen berry mix

We read the variety of health claims made for food products, each one suggesting that they hold the key to keeping us healthy and preventing disease and other ailments. From supplements to various combinations of "natural" foods, a multi-billion dollar industry has grown up to provide an ever changing, kaleidoscope of foods and supplements for our tables. But sometimes the healthful food is full of something else, and these incidents can result in product liability lawsuits.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that at least 30 incidences of hepatitis A have been linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend frozen berry mix. People who ate the berry mixture became ill in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

The FDA did not announce a formal recall of the frozen fruit, but the CDC was advising that it be pulled from the selves and not used in any other food products. The fruit mix was sold at Costco and the retailer has taken it out of its stores and is attempting to notify any purchasers.

The hepatitis A strain is typically found in the Middle East and North Africa, and appears to be connected with contaminated pomegranate seeds in the mix, which are sourced from Turkey.

Hepatitis A typically occurs within two weeks to two months of exposure. There is a vaccine, and if it is given within two weeks of the exposure, it can prevent the disease.

While the modern food supply pipelines allow us to obtain exotic foods year round, it also means we are exposed to the potential for food carrying bringing diseases and illness from around the world to our dinner table. 


Source: The Associated Press, “Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Oregon berry farm, Costco” June 2, 2013

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