January 24, 2020

FDA Info on Fresh Thyme Woodman’s Blackberries Hepatitis A Outbreak

The FDA has released information on the Fresh Thyme Woodman’s blackberries hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened 18 people in 6 states, including Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The outbreak is potentially linked to fresh, conventional (non-organic) blackberries sold at the grocery stores Fresh Thyme Farmers Market and Woodman’s Market in the upper midwest.

FDA Info on Fresh Thyme Woodman's Blackberries Hepatitis A Outbreak

 

The case counts were updated to include 18 illnesses  from 16 from the last update on December 3, 2019 , with the most recent illness onset date on November 15, 2019. Ten people have been hospitalized.

The FDA is urging consumers not to eat any fresh, conventional blackberries if they were purchased from 9/9/19 and 9/30/19 from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores located in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin; or from Woodman’s Market that is located in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The government is concerned that some people may have purchased blackberries between the specific time frame of September 9, 2019 and September 30, 2019, and froze them for later use. Freezing does not destroy the hepatitis A virus; it is destroyed by cooking it for at least one minute at 185°F. If someone eats the frozen berries that were not cooked, they could risk getting sick.

Attorney Fred Pritzker

You can contact food safety attorney Fred Pritzker for help if you have been sickened in this blackberries hepatitis A outbreak by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

If you or someone you know did eat frozen berries purchased during the time frame in question, you can still get a hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccination if you ate them during the last two weeks. Those vaccines are only effective if given within two weeks of exposure. Consult with your healthcare provider to see if these vaccinations are indicated for you.

If you have had a hepatitis A illness in the past, or if you have previously been vaccinated, you probably don’t need a shot. Again, consult with your doctor to be sure.

If you did have the blackberries in question stored in your refrigerator or freezer, clean those appliances after you discard the fruit. Wash the inside walls and shelves, then sanitize with a solution of one tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water, then dry with fresh paper towels. Wash your hands with soap and water after cleaning and after handling the berries.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, especially in the upper right quadrant, jaundice, dark urine, and clay-colored stools. Symptoms usually start 15 to 50 days after infection. If you ate the berries more than two weeks ago, watch for these symptoms to appear. If they do, see your doctor. You may be part of this Fresh Thyme Woodman’s blackberries hepatitis A outbreak.

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