U.S. officials are detaining shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat Ihracat Tic [Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading] of Turkey after linking a Hepatitis A outbreak to contaminated seeds.
The investigation began in June and went public with the recall of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends, frozen food blends containing pomegranate seed mix. These seeds were also used by Scenic Fruit Company to make their recently recalled Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.
This outbreak highlights the food safety challenge posed by todays global food system, said Michael R. Taylor, the Food and Drug Administration's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. The presence in a single product of multiple ingredients from multiple countries compounds the difficulty of finding the cause of an illness outbreak. The Hepatitis A outbreak shows how we have improved our ability to investigate and respond to outbreaks, but also why we are working to build a food safety system that more effectively prevents them.
As of June 27, 2013, 127 people had been exposed to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, and Hepatitis A illnesses have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin (the people who were reported ill in Wisconsin were exposed to the product in California), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hepatitis A, a contagious viral liver disease, can be prevented if a patient is treated with a vaccine within two weeks of exposure to the virus. See your doctor if you think you may have been exposed. Symptoms of illness range from fatigue, abdominal pain and abnormal liver tests to jaundice and, in rare cases, liver failure.
The frozen berries, seeds and other antioxidant-rich finger foods were sold at Cosco in three-pound bags and have the UPC 0 78414 40444 8, which can be found on the back of the package with the words BEST BY followed by a seven-digit code. The recalled codes are will appear between T122114 and T053115, sequentially, and be followed by a letter.
The blend was also sold at Harris Teeter stores from April 19 until May 7, 2013, as Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend in 10-ounce bags with the UPC 0 72036 70463 4. These packages are also labeled with Lot Codes T041613E and T041613C, and a BEST BY code of 101614.
For questions or more information, contact Townsend Farms at 1-800-875-5291 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT) or at email@example.com.
A related recall by the Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Ore., involved 61,092 eight-ounce resealable plastic pouches of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels, which were shipped to various states. Look for UPC 0 42563 01628 9. Specific coding information to identify the product can be found on the back portion of these pouches below the zip-lock seal. The following lots are subject to this recall:
For additional details from the FDA, including additional photographs of the recalled packaging, visit fda.gov.
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