Frozen berries linked to hepatitis outbreak

Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend berries have been recalled because the product, sold at Costco, may be linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak. No cases have been reported in San Benito County.

The California Department of Public Health issued a warning Monday not to eat Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries as they may be linked to a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections. The frozen berries were sold at Costco, where they have been removed from stores though they may have been sold at other retail locations as well. Consumers with questions may call the California Department of Public Health at 916-650-6595.

As of May 31, at least 30 cases were being investigated nationwide, with six confirmed illnesses in California residents. No cases have been reported in San Benito County.

“People who have bought this product should discard it if it is still found in their home,” said Alvaro Garza, the San Benito County Health Officer. “Anyone who has consumed this specific product in the last 14 days should contact their doctor to discuss possible hepatitis A prevention and treatment options including vaccination.”

People who have been vaccinated are protected.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain and jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes or skin,) according to the health department. The symptoms develop two to six weeks after consuming contaminated food or drink and can last from one week to several months.

According to a press statement, most people recover completely but some get an infection that can lead to hospitalization and severe illness. Anyone with symptoms should not go to work, especially if they work in food service, health care or child care. Residents with symptoms are encouraged to talk to a health care provider.

For more information on hepatitis A, visit www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/discond/pages/HepatitisA.aspx.

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