The FDA and CDC confirmed 162 cases of hepatitis A as of September 20, 2013, linked to pomegranate seeds in Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend. Ten states have reported hepatitis A virus infections: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wisconsin. The frozen Townsend Farms Antioxidant Blends were sold in at Costco and Harris Teeter.
In June 2013, Townsend Farms issued a voluntary recall of Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend and Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant blend. Later that month, Scenic Fruit Company recalled specific lots of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels because of a potential hepatitis A contamination.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can progress to liver failure in severe cases. Six of the confirmed cases of hepatitis A resulted from secondary exposure (household contacts). Fortunately, no deaths have been reported; however, 44% of ill people have required hospitalization. The strain of hepatitis A involved is rarely seen in the Americas.
Illness from Hepatitis A generally occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Abnormal liver tests
- Elevated liver enzymes (ELE)
- Dark urine
- Pale stool
People who may have consumed the contaminated antioxidant berry blends or pomegranate seeds should immediately consult a healthcare professional. Hepatitis A infections can be fatal, particularly for consumers with pre-existing illness or compromised immune systems.
We encourage patients and loved ones who have been affected by the multistate hepatitis A outbreak to contact us for a free case evaluation at www.andrewsthornton.com or toll free at 1-800-644-1734.