Hepatitis A Outbreak Lawsuit Filed Over Recalled Frozen Berry Mix
Costco and the makers of a frozen berry mix linked to a multistate hepatitis A outbreak face a number of food poisoning lawsuits filed by people who fell ill after consuming contaminated frozen fruit sold throughout the United States.
According to information released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 49 people have developed acute hepatitis A that may be linked to organic anti-oxidant berry blends sold by Townsend Farms. Cases have been reported in seven states, with at least 11 people requiring hospital treatment due to the illness.
The first frozen berry hepatitis lawsuit was filed on Monday, in Los Angeles Superior Court by a 51 year old woman who fell ill on May 22 after consuming Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend she purchased at Costco. She was diagnosed with hepatitis A and hospitalized due to a severely inflamed liver as a result.
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Additional complaints and potential class action lawsuits are expected in the coming weeks, and the number of reported problems is likely to grow substantially, as the CDC Is advising anyone who ate the frozen berry or pomegranate mix to get a hepatitis A vaccination.
The hepatitis outbreak was first announced by the CDC in a warning issued on May 31. At that time, the drink was only known to be sold at Costco stores. Since then, however, the manufacturer has issued an official recall and revealed that the potentially contaminated berry blend was more widely distributed.
Townsend Farms Frozen Berry Recall
The Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend recall was announced on June 4, impacting 3 lb. bags sold under the Townsend Farms label at Costco with a UPC number of 0 78414 404448. Those recalled bags also have, on the back, the words “BEST BY” followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter.
The frozen berry blend was also sold at Harris Teeter stores from April 19 through May 7 as Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blend in 10 oz bags with UPC 0 72036 70463 4, lot codes T0401613E and T0401613C, and a “BEST BY” code of 101614.
The company says the outbreak appears to be linked to the pomegranate seeds in the blends, but also says no tests have found hepatitis A in the actual product.
According to the CDC, most of the victims interviewed consumed the Townsend frozen drink blend and the strain of hepatitis A matches one linked to pomegranate seeds that caused illnesses in Europe earlier this year.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a viral infection. According to the CDC, a hepatitis A vaccination can be effective even up to two weeks after exposure. Anyone who has already had a hepatitis A vaccination is unlikely to contract the disease, the CDC advises.
Consumers who are not vaccinated and believe they have consumed the recalled drink should contact their healthcare provider if they show symptoms including:
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Abdominal pain
- Pale stools
- Dark urine
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