March 24, 2018

Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Townsend Farms Pomegranate Seeds Grows to 131

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey has been updated by the CDC. Now 131 people are sick in 8 states. Fifty-nine people have been hospitalized, and there have been no deaths reported.


As of June 28, 2013, the case count per states is: Arizona (19), California (66), Colorado (25), Hawaii (7), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), Utah (2), and Wisconsin (2). The cases in Wisconsin ate the product when they were in California. All patients became ill after eating Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix purchased at Costco. Illness onset dates range from 3/31/13 to 6/24/13. All of the people who have been hospitalized are over the age of 18.

The outbreak strain of the hepatitis A virus, genotype 1B, was found in clinical specimens of 56 people in seven states. This genotype is rarely seen in the U.S. but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East. Over the weekend, the FDA announced that it is stopping imports of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading, a company in Turkey.

There have been several recalls and warnings in this case. Townsend Farms recalled their product and Harris Teeter recalled their version of the product. Scenic Fruit Company recalled lots of their Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels because they came from Goknur. And several restaurants including A Frame Espresso in California and two restaurants in Colorado, had to warn customers they used the blend in smoothies.


  1. I went to Costco yesterday and talked to customer service about getting my money back for the antioxidant blend. They denied my request as I did not have the contaminated bag of berries with me………But they have proof of my purchase through my Costco card account. How very strange…… Thanks, Costco.

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