September 15, 2019

Townsend Farms Hepatitis Outbreak Winds Down

The Hepatitis A outbreak associated with Townsend Farms frozen berries sold at Costco is winding down.  As of August 16, 159 in 10 states have been sickened by the virus, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s just one new case since that agency’s last update two weeks ago.

frozen strawberriesBy state, the case count is as follows: Arizona (23), California (77), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (10), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). The Wisconsin cases resulted from exposure to the product in California, the New Hampshire cases were expose during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado..

Six of the cases are secondary cases contracted from household contacts of other confirmed cases. Sixty nine people have been hospitalized. Most of those who became ill, 55 percent, are women. The case patients range in age from 1 year old to 84 years old.  Eleven of the patients were children 18 or under who were not previously vaccinated.

Working together, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus “appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.” The company has been put on import alert, meaning it  cannot import food into the U.S. until the FDA is confident the problem has been resolved.

All products containing the seeds have been recalled. They include Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends and Scenic Fruit Company’s Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.

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