May 28, 2024

CDC Weighs in on Fresh Thyme Blackberries Hepatitis A Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has weighed in on the Fresh Thyme blackberries hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened at least 11 people in three states. The CDC recommends that anyone who bought fresh conventionally grown blackberries at any Fresh Thyme Farmers Market location during the time frame of September 9 through September 30, 2019 not eat them.

CDC Weighs in on Fresh Thyme Blackberries Hepatitis A Outbreak

As of November 20, 2019, there are eleven people ill in three states. The case count by state is: Indiana (2), Nebraska (6), and Wisconsin (3). Illness onset dates range from October 15, 2019 to November 5, 2019. The patient age range is from 14 to 73 years. Fifty-five percent of patients have been hospitalized.

In interviews, patients answered questions about the foods they ate before they got sick. All of those sickened said they ate fresh blackberries. Of nine people who knew where they purchased the berries, all nine said they came from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores. The FDA and officials in several states are collecting records from grocery stores where ill persons said they purchased the berries and are trying to identify a source.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact Minneapolis food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202. Fred said, “No one should get seriously sick and be hospitalized just because they bought fresh berries.”

Check your freezer for these blackberries if you froze some; freezing doesn’t destroy this pathogen. If you aren’t sure whether or not the blackberries in your freezer came from Fresh Thyme, discard them. That grocery store chain has locations in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

If you have eaten those blackberries, frozen or not, in the last two weeks and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A, see your doctor and discuss whether you should be vaccinated. Hepatitis A and immune globulin vaccinations are available depending on certain conditions.

But if you ate those blackberries more than two weeks ago, it’s too late for a shot. Monitor your health for the symptoms of hepatitis A, which can appear 15 to 50 days after exposure. Those symptoms include yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), loss of appetite, stomach pain, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dark urine, joint pain, feeling tired, and clay colored stools. If you have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor. You may be part of this Fresh Thyme blackberries hepatitis A outbreak.

Produce is, unfortunately, one of the main vehicles for pathogens and these products have caused many outbreaks over the years. You can protect yourself by paying attention to recalls and outbreaks, and by always cleaning fresh produce before you eat it.

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