April 25, 2018

FDA Detains Pomegranate Seeds Imported from Goknur of Turkey

The FDA is detaining shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat thracat Tic (Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading) of Turkey when they are offered for import into the country. This action is from the investigation into the hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix sold at Costco stores. That outbreak has sickened 127 people in eight states as of June 27, 2013.

FDAThe FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the virus is a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from Goknur used by Townsend Farms to make the product that was recalled in June. The seeds were also used to make the recalled Scenic Fruit Company Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.

Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine of the FDA said in a statement, “this outbreak highlights the food safety challenge posed by today’s global food system. The presence in a single product of multiple ingredients from multiple countries compounds the difficulty of finding the cause of an illness outbreak.”

This outbreak also highlights the need for the Food Safety Modernization Act imported food rules, which have been delayed at the Office of Management and Budget for 18 months. The FDA is working with facilities that have distributed pomegsranate seeds from this shipment from Turkey to make sure everyone is notified. Records determined that the pomegranate seeds from this shipment were the only common ingredient to the recalled Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blend.

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