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article imageFrozen berry mix triggers hepatitis outbreak

By Tim Sandle     Jun 2, 2013 in Food
A series of acute hepatitis A outbreak across five U.S. states have been linked with a frozen berry and pomegranate mix sold by Costco stores.
As reported by U.S.A. Today, cases of the viral infection have been reported in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California. The first case was reported on April 29 and the most recent dates to May 17.
The common factor is a frozen berry blend sold by Costco called The Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend Frozen Berry Mix, a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix. Frozen berry blends are often used to make smoothies, frozen bar drinks and other types of desserts and drinks.
The analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reveals that:
12 (63%) ill people are women
All people are ages 18 or older, ranging from 25 – 71 years
9 (47%) ill people have been hospitalized
11 (65%) of 17 ill people interviewed reported eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend,’ a frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix
11 persons who have provided purchase information reported purchasing this product from ‘Costco’ markets; however, investigations are ongoing to determine if this product was sold at other stores or venues.
Infectious hepatitis is an acute infectious disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is usually spread by the fecal-oral route; transmitted person-to-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with an infectious person. It is generally regarded as an indicator of poor hygiene standards.
What is unusual about this outbreak is that the particular strain of virus is rarely seen in the Americas but circulates in the North Africa and Middle East regions. The berry mix contained pomegranate seeds and other produce from the US, Argentina, Chile, and Turkey.
Consumers have been warned not to eat the product.
More about Hepatitis, Hepatitis A, Berries, Frozen food, Costco
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