Major grocery chains across the country are being forced to recall thousands of frozen berries over fears that they may be contaminated with Hepatitis A. In the last two weeks, retailers including Costco and Kroger have issued a warning to their stores after berries produced by Townsend Farms in Oregon were found to be contaminated with the disease. The news has prompted widespread panic over the potential ramifications.
According to the FDA website, both Costco and Kroger have recalled “frozen Kirkland Signature brand Three Berry Blend” from states including Hawaii, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. In an official statement, the organisation warn that “The FDA is alerting consumers to a hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen blackberries under the Kroger grocery store ‘Private Selection’ brand. This contamination was discovered by the FDA as a part of an ongoing frozen berry sampling assignment. Townsend Farms is the supplier for the recalled Kroger frozen blackberry products and Costco frozen blackberry blend. The FDA is advising consumers not to eat and to throw away certain frozen blackberry products purchased from Kroger and other retail locations packaged under Kroger’s ‘Private Selection’ brand.”
The FDA also revealed which specific products have been subject to recall, identifying the Best Buy serial numbers “PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 48 OZ (BEST BY: 07-07-20; UPC: 0001111079120),” “PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20; UPC: 0001111087808)” and “PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN BLACKBERRIES, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20, 07-02-20; UPC: 0001111087809)” as the berries responsible for the outbreak. The FDA state that “these products are available at Kroger and other retail locations and have an 18-month shelf life,” and have advised customers to “not eat any of the recalled frozen Three Berry Blend product.”
Hepatitis A is described by the NHS as “a liver infection caused by a virus that's spread in the poo of an infected person.” Though preventable through vaccination and not generally considered life threatening, the disease can put some people at serious risk “if it causes the liver to stop working properly (liver failure)”. Symptoms can include fatigue, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and jaundice. The FDA have advised that if you fear you may have contracted the disease you should seek immediate medical attention.