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THIRTY people infected with Hepatitis A after frozen berry mix from Costco sparks national outbreak

Infection: Costco, pictured, has pulled contaminated Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend products from its shelves after it was linked to a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A.

Infection: Costco, pictured, has pulled contaminated Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend products from its shelves after it was linked to a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A.

Thirty people have been infected with Hepatitis A, and nine of them hospitalized, in an outbreak across five states traced to an organic frozen berry mix sold at Costco.

And health officials are bracing for more cases if cafes and restaurants that bought the frozen blend used it to make smoothies, frozen bar drinks and other desserts for customers.

The Food and Drug Administration and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked the reported illnesses to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, a mix of berries and pomegranate seeds produced by Townsend Farms in Oregon.

Outbreak: Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries sold through Costco stores, pictured, have been linked to an outbreak of Hepatitis A infections.

Outbreak: Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries sold through Costco stores, pictured, have been linked to an outbreak of Hepatitis A infections.

The first victim got sick on April 29 with the most recent case reported on May 17, although USA Today reports more are expected.

The victims, aged between 25 and 71 years old, live in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

About 11 of 17 of those infected said they bought the berry mix at Costco, according to CNN.

A Costco spokesman said that the company has removed the product from stores and is attempting to contact members who purchased the product in recent months.

Infection: Costco, pictured, has pulled contaminated Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend products from its shelves after it was linked to a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A.

Infection: Costco, pictured, has pulled contaminated Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend products from its shelves after it was linked to a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A.

Townsend Farms lawyer Bill Gaar said the frozen organic blend bag included pomegranate seeds sourced from Turkey, and were only used in the product associated with the outbreak.

'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,' Mr Gaar said.

He said Townsend Farms believes Costco is the only customer who bought the product but are checking to see if any other retailers also sold it.

Contaminated: Frozen berries, pictured, produced at Townsend Farms in Oregon have been linked to an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

Contaminated: Frozen berries, pictured, produced at Townsend Farms in Oregon have been linked to an outbreak of Hepatitis A.

CNN reports state health departments, the FDA and the CDC are investigating, after notifying Townsend Farms on Thursday and sending investigators to the Fairview farm. 

Hepatitis A is a highly infectious disease which inflames the liver, and is usually transmitted via contaminated food or water, or by someone who is infected.

The Mayo Clinic website states: 'Mild cases of Hepatitis A don't require treatment, and most people who are infected recover completely with no permanent liver damage.

However the World Health Organization says severe infection can lead to liver failure and death, with about 1.4 million cases of Hepatitis A annually worldwide.

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Comment by Pea Bee on June 4, 2013 at 11:57am
@Fedora McClaren.... Thanx for the update, I hadn't read that.
Comment by Roots aka TJ What De Ras on June 3, 2013 at 3:17pm
Hmmmmm and they want us to believe. We will believe any thing
Comment by Fedora McClaren on June 3, 2013 at 2:03pm
Townsend Farms lawyer says the pomegranate seeds were imported from Turkey, Pea Bee...

Bear in mind that all organic labeling is not 100% organic either. It has to be recognised as having organic ingredients contained prior to it having the organic label...
Comment by Pea Bee on June 3, 2013 at 7:29am
@Vinny Pat...I'm confused by your comment. How is this a case of imported goods being the culprit? Oregon is right here in our back yard.
Comment by barbara glover on June 2, 2013 at 9:06pm

they are trying to kill us all with food o my god help us

Comment by Vinny Pat on June 2, 2013 at 9:02pm
bingo, keep importing and we'll always be at risk...not saying things don't happen here
Comment by barbara glover on June 2, 2013 at 2:55pm

how d hell this can happen we need to grow our own garden nothing is not safe to eat any more and i love berries

Comment by JANETTE on June 2, 2013 at 2:49pm
Everyone is trying to eat healthy & you get hepatitis. ..unbelievable. ....smdh
Comment by Connie on June 2, 2013 at 2:26pm
Check my frozen bag of blueberries this morning and sigh releif when I saw it was Target brand. Going back to fresh berries anyway. Dont know who to trust.
Comment by Ralph Johnson Jr on June 2, 2013 at 6:50am

Wow! we all have to be very very careful out there..

 

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