Blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Market stores were linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak this week. It’s not the first time berries and Hepatitis have made headlines together. So just how common is Hepatitis A in berries?
After two major Hepatitis A outbreaks linked to berries – one in 2013, one in 2016- sickened more than 300 people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set up a sampling program to answer that question. Since the 18-month program began in November 2018, three companies have issued recalls for berries potentially contaminated with Hepatitis A: Kroger, Townsend Farms and Wawona. All three have been issued within the last five months.
In June, Townsend Farms issued a recall for Kirkland Signature brand Triple Berry Blend sold at Costco stores. And Kroger issued a recall for frozen blackberries and Triple Berry Medleys sold under the Private Selection brand name at Kroger stores.
In October, Wawona Frozen Foods issued a recall for raspberries that were sold under the brand name Season’s Choice at Aldi stores and Raley’s brand sold at Raley’s stores.
There were also recalls associated with the two major outbreaks.
Back in 2013, a Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ frozen berries sickened 162 people in ten states. The product included strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries and pomegranate seeds. Health officials determined that the source of contamination was pomegranate seeds imported from Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading in Turkey.
And in 2016 the outbreak, which sickened 143 people were sickened in nine states, was linked to strawberries imported from Egypt and sold at Tropical Smoothie Café restaurants.
The current outbreak has sickened 11 people in three states hospitalizing six of them. It has been linked to fresh, conventional blackberries sold between September 9 and September 30 at Fresh Thyme Market stores in Indiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. However, the FDA reports that the contaminated blackberries came from a distribution center that ships fresh berries to Fresh Thyme stores in 11 states: IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, PA, and WI.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that causes liver infection. Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea, clay-like stools, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin.
Pritzker Hageman Hepatitis lawyers represent clients nationwide who have been sickened by contaminated food. If you or a loved one developed a Hepatitis A infection as part of this outbreak, we want to represent you. For a free consultation, please call 1-888-377-8900, text 612-261-0856, or fill out the form below.