September 21, 2023

Hepatitis A Townsend Farms Costco Outbreak Grows to 99 Sick

The CDC has updated its investigation into the multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A infections potentially associated with “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” frozen berry and pomegranate mix. Now 99 people are sick in 8 states. Thirty-eight people have been hospitalized in this outbreak. There have ben no deaths.

As of June 11, 2013, people are sick with acute hepatitis in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington state. Based on epidemiological evidence of 73 cases, 47, or 64% of ill persons are women. The age range is from 2 to 87 years; most of those sick are adults. Illness onset dates range from 3/16/13 to 6/1/13. Fifty-two percent of ill persons have been hospitalized. And 86% of ill persons reported eating the frozen berry and pomegranate mix before becoming ill. All of the respondents bought the product from Costco markets. No cases have been identified who bought the product at Harris Teeter stores.


Costco has notified its members who purchased the product, and it has been recalled. the FDA has started an investigation of the processing facilities of Townsend Farms in Fairview, Oregon. Public health officials are also finalizing a protocol to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) and will be testing samples for the presence of the virus.

Preliminary evidence indicates the outbreak strain is genotype 1B, which is found in North Africa and the Middle East. The fruit in the frozen mix was imported from Turkey, Chile, and Argentina. Hepatitis A is a human disease and usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without proper hygiene. Food contaminated with the virus can cause outbreaks among those who eat or handle the food.

Please check your freezers to see if you have this product. If you do, discard it or double bag it and put it back in the freezer. Do not eat or handle the berries. Wash your hands thoroughly with lots of soap and water after touching the product. If you ate or touched this product, contact your health care provider about getting a hepatitis A or immune globulin shot, and contact your doctor if you are showing any signs or symptoms of hepatitis A.

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