The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local officials announced the investigation of a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, a frozen blend containing pomegranate seed mix. Reports of this investigation hit the airwaves on May 31, 2013, and since the announcement, the FDA has reported on their website that 61 people have been infected with Hepatitis A from 7 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.
Townsend Farms, Inc., a family owned business in Fairview, Oregon, announced on June 4, 2013, it’s voluntary recall of certain lots of the Organic Antioxidant Blend. The packages of concern are Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend 10-ounce bag and Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend 3-pound bag. The product was sold at Costco warehouse stores with the UPC 0 78414 404448 and the “BEST BY” code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter. For the Harris Teeter products, look for UPC 0 72036 70463 4 along with the correct “Lot” and “best by” codes which are as follows: Lot Codes T041613E, T0401613C and a “BEST BY” code of 101614. Photos of the packages are below.
Questions and Answers from the FDA about Hepatitis A*
What to do if you have purchased and consumed these products?
Stop eating the product and discard. If you have consumed the fruit, within the last three weeks, you should consult with your health care provider or or local health department to determine if a vaccination is appropriate.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.
Who is at Risk?
Hepatitis A is a human disease and usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food contaminated with HAV, as is suspected in this outbreak, can cause outbreaks of disease among persons who eat or handle food. In rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or immune compromise, HAV infection can progress to liver failure and death. Persons with underlying liver conditions should be vaccinated.