Dozens contract Hepatitis A from tainted pomegranates
Consumers in Texas have a right to expect that the products they buy in mass merchandise stores are not going to harm them -- particularly food products. However, from time to time, various items for sale may end up being dangerous or otherwise defective products.
This appears to be what happened with a berry mix that was sold at Costco, a chain store with more than a dozen locations in Texas, including in the Austin area. Around 30 people in several states -- not including Texas, at least not yet -- have reported that they have contracted hepatitis A, which federal health authorities have linked to Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend berry mix. The source of the illness is suspected to be pomegranate seeds included in the product.
Attorneys for the manufacturer said that the pomegranate seeds came from Turkey. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a hepatitis A outbreak from frozen berries took place in Europe not that long ago, and one last year happened in the Canadian province of British Columbia last year -- that one tied to Egyptian-grown pomegranate seeds.
People who consumed the seeds might not get sick if they receive a vaccination within two weeks of exposure; the illness, however, might take up to several weeks to materialize.
Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems often fare the worst when it comes to food-borne outbreaks. The people who have reported getting sick in this outbreak have all been over age 25, but the oldest victims are in their 70s.
Source: Associated Press, "Hepatitis A outbreak linked to Oregon berry farm, Costco," June 2, 2013