August 14, 2022

Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Townsend Farms-Costco Pomegranate Seeds Grows Again

As of July 11, 2013, 145 people in eight states have now been sickened in the Townsend Farms-Costco hepatitis A pomegranate seed outbreak. Sixty-three people have been hospitalized; no deaths have been reported. Those sickened ate the recalled Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix purchased from Costco. Investigations have traced the virus back to pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey by Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.


The case count per state is: Arizona (21), California (70), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Mexico (7), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). The cases in Wisconsin were exposed to the product in California. Fifty-six percent of the ill persons are women. The age range is from 1 to 84 years. Ten children age 18 or under are ill; none of those children were previously vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus. Illness onset dates range from 3/31/13 to 7/1/13.

This outbreak appears to be tapering off, as indicated by the epi curve. Only one additional case has been reported since June 24, 2013. But consumers may still have the recalled products in their home freezers; please check yours according to the recall notice. In addition, Scenic Fruit Company has recalled their  Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels that were imported from Goknur Foodstuffs. If you do have either product in your home, discard it and wash your hands thoroughly after touching it.

If you ate or touched the recalled product, contact your doctor to see if a vaccination against hepatitis A is right for you. If you have eaten or touched the pomegranate seeds, monitor yourself for the symptoms of acute hepatitis, which include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and pale stool.


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