December 7, 2021

Hepatitis Risk For Canadians Who Bought Townsend Berries From Costco

townsend-hepatitisAbout 1,200 Canadians who bought frozen mixed berries from Costco stores in the U.S. are at risk of hepatitis A infection, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Most of them live in British Columbia and Alberta and purchased Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry and pomegranate mix from U.S. Costco stores on the west coast. The contaminated berries, which have sickened almost 80 people in the U.S., were not sold in Canada.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that causes illness that can last a few weeks or several months. Symptoms, which generally appear two to seven weeks after exposure include: fatigue, nausea, vomiting, fever, dark urine, clay-colored stools and yellow skin or eyes. Not everyone infected with hepatitis shows symptoms.

Canadian public health authorities say Canadians who shop at Costco in the U.S. should check their freezers for the product which has been recalled. Consumers who have this product should not eat it. Those who ate the berries should see a health carre provider. A vaccine can prevent illness if given within 14 days of exposure.

At this point, no cases of hepatitis A have been reported in association with theses berries in Canada. The number of hepatitis A cases has declined in Canada since the vaccine was introduced in 1996. Good hygiene and safe food handling and preparation practices are key to preventing the spread of hepatitis and other foodborne illnesses.

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