Girardi | Keese

Berry mix linked to 34 cases of hepatitis A illnesses

Costco shoppers in California were once again warned about a food-borne illness scare in another one of the store's products this month.  A recall of Townsend Farms-brand frozen berry mix was recalled after several cases of hepatitis A were linked to the product, breediing further concerns that thousands could be at risk of exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control made a link between the contaminated berries and the illness which prompted the FDA to announce the recall.  Reports do not indicate whether the agency came to this conclusion on its own or was led there by answers from the sick.  The agency also has not explained why the FDA did not issue the dangerous product's recall until nearly three days after discovering the link to contamination.

So far, the tainted berry mix has been linked to at least 34 cases of hepatitis illnesses in five states, including here in California. But because Costco is a national brand, the fear that more people could be in danger of catching the illness is fairly high. Although Costco has pulled the brand of berry mix from its store shelves, packages purchased before the recall went into effect could still cause harm to unsuspecting consumers.

Hepatitis A usually shows symptoms anywhere between 15 to 50 days after exposure and can include fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice. The illness can last from a few weeks to several months and is considered to be contagious too.

On top of the recall, the FDA is inspecting the processing facilities of Townsend Farms in an effort to find out where the contamination occurred in the first place. While this cure the people who are already infected by the disease, it might prevent a situation such as this from happening again in the future.

Source: The Press Democrat, "Frozen berry mix linked to hepatitis A recalled," Mary Clare Jalonick, June 4, 2013

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