On a HUMAN FOOD note….just in case any of you have purchased “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend,” a mix of frozen berries and pomegranate seeds sold at Costco stores.
At least 118 people in 8 western states are now known to be victims of a hepatitis A outbreak traced to a frozen berry mix sold at Costco.
This count comes as the latest in an almost daily rise in the number of illnesses, which yesterday was at 106. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47 of the victims have been hospitalized as a result of their infections.
Illness onset dates range from March 16 through June 8, 2013.
Those sickened range in age from 2 to 87 years of age. A majority (59 percent) of the victims are women.
Of the 112 patients interviewed, 80 (71 percent) report eating “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend,” a mix of frozen berries and pomegranate seeds sold at Costco stores, prior to fallen ill. The product was also sold at Harris Teeter stores under the Harris Teeter brand, but no patients have reported eating this product to date.
Costco notified its members of the problem via its electronic notification system on May 30 after being notified of the problem. Approximately 240,000 customers had purchased the berries since late February, when the product is thought to have become potentially contaminated.
The Costco product was distributed in 12 states, including Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, but no cases from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon or Montana have been reported.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has begun an investigation into the processing facilities of Townsend Farms, located in Fairview, OR.