More frozen fruit recalled over hepatitis A outbreak

An ongoing hepatitis A outbreak has prompted another Oregon fruit company to recall some frozen fruit products.

Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Ore. announced Wednesday it was issuing a voluntary recall of more than 61,000 bags  of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.

No illnesses are currently associated with Scenic Fruit's products, and product testing so far has found no presence of the liver-damaging virus on its pomegranate seeds, which were imported from Turkey. The outbreak, however, is being conducted out of an abundance of caution because of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen pomegranate seeds of Turkish origin.

Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore. recalled its Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend of frozen berries in early June after its products, which were purchased from Costco markets, were linked to a five-state hepatitis A outbreakwhich at the time had sickened 30 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports as of June 26, 122 cases of hepatitis A have been linked to the Townsend Farms' frozen berries across eight states: Arizona (17 cases), California (62), Colorado (25), Hawaii (5), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), Utah (2) and Wisconsin (one case, but the person was exposed to the product while in California).

Hepatitis A is a potentially dangerous virus that's highly contagious, and most often transmitted through contaminated food or drinking water. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), joint pain and grey-colored stools. Not everyone infected will develop symptoms, according to the CDC, but those that do typically experience them within two to sex weeks of infection. In rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to liver failure and death.

A vaccine can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to a contaminated food.

The strain of hepatitis A that is implicated in the multi-state outbreak is rarely seen in the U.S. but circulates in North Africa and the Middle East, according to the CDC.

Of the 122 cases linked to the current outbreak, 54 people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

The new recall of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels involves products that were shipped from February 2013 through May 2013 to distribution centers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington State. Distribution centers may have shipped the products to other states.

They're sold in 8-ounce reasalable plastic pouches with UPC Code 0 42563 01628 9, which can be found on the back of pouches below the zip-lock seal.

The following product lots were recalled:

  • C 0129 (A,B, or C) 035 with a best by date of 02/04/2015
  • C 0388 (A,B, or C) 087 with a best by date of 03/28/2015
  • C 0490 (A,B, or C) 109 with a best by date of 04/19/2015

Consumers with the recalled products should dispose of them immediately. Scenic Fruit Company directed consumers with questions to its hotline at 877-927-3434 or info@scenicfruit.com.

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