Costco Berries Producer Linked to Hepatitis-A Expands Recall

The producer of a frozen berries mixture sold at Costco that has been linked to Hepatitis A has voluntarily recalled the product from the wholesaler and the Harris Teeter supermarket chain.

Townsend Farms says its organic berry blend has been linked to the virus by an early investigation by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and is being pulled from store shelves. Over the weekend 34 cases of Hepatitis A were reported in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado; all are recovering from the non-life threatening disease.

The distributor reports Hepatitis A has not been physically found in the seeds as of Monday. But on Friday federal investigators found in patient interviews that 11 of 17 diagnosed had consumed the product.

A spokesman for Townsend Farms says initial findings point to pomegranate seeds originating in Turkey and does not believe any contamination occurred domestically. According to the CDC this particular strain of Hepatitis A is not usually found in the Americas but is commonly found in northern Africa and the Middle East.

Symptoms for the contagious liver disease include fever, fatigue, and pain. Persons who suspect they may have contracted the virus should seek treatment immediately. The city of Los Angeles has set up seven free clinics to screen for the outbreak.

Townsend Farms says consumers should be on the lookout these products:

Costco: "Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, 3 lb. bag and UPC 0 78414 404448. The recalled codes are located on the back of the package with the words 'BEST BY'; followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter."

Harris Teeter: "Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend, 10 oz. bag and UPC 0 72036 70463 4, with 'BEST BY' codes of T041615E or T041615C," sold from April 19 to May 7, 2013.