DSHS Advises Consumers to Follow Warning About Townsend Frozen Berries
May 31, 2013
The Texas Department of State Health Services is advising consumers not to eat Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen mixed berries because the product may be contaminated with hepatitis A, a virus that can cause serious health problems.
DSHS is advising people to check their freezers and dispose of the product if found.
Approximately 30 cases of hepatitis A have been reported from five states – Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. The cases may be linked to consumption of a contaminated product. There is indication that Texas stores may have received the product. No cases have been identified in Texas at this time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries appear to be the source of the outbreak. This blend includes cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries. Costco has removed this product from its shelves, although a formal recall has not been issued and other stores may carry the product.
Hepatitis A virus is spread as a result of fecal contamination (fecal-oral route) and may be spread from person to person through close contact or through food handling. The virus is commonly spread by contaminated food or beverages. People are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A if they have been in close contact with an infected person.
Early signs of hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). People with these symptoms should not go to work if they work in food service, health care or child care, and should consult a physician immediately.
The disease varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. Severe cases may result in hospitalization. Some people, especially children, may not develop jaundice and may have an illness so mild it can go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill people can be highly infectious.
Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to the contaminated product. If you consumed this product in the last two weeks and have never been vaccinated, contact your health care provider for guidance.
(News Media Contact: Christine Mann, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-971-4234.)