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More contaminated fruit! Costco and Kroger recall frozen berries over hepatitis A fears

Costco has issued a recall of its frozen berry mixture amid fears the products may be contaminated with hepatitis A, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday. 

Its recall comes just days after Kroger grocery stores recalled its similar Private Selection Triple Berry Medley.  

So far, the potentially affected berries all came from manufacturer Townsend Farms, which informed Costco and Kroger its blackberries – used in both blends – may have been exposed to hepatitis A.  

The contagious viral infection can cause liver inflammation and is typically transmitted when food comes into contact with contaminated fecal matter. 

So far, no related illnesses have been reported. 

Costco has recalled its own Kirkland rand berry medley after the manufacturer of the blackberries in the mix notified the wholesaler the berries may have been contaminated with hepatitis A, the FDA announced 

Hepatitis A can be prevented, if those exposed have gotten vaccinated against the virus. 

But in recent years it has been on the rise in the US – exponentially so, in fact. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis A outbreaks used to be a once-in-a-decade occurrence. 

Between 2016 and 2018, however, cases of hepatitis A surged by 300 percent in the US. 

Concerns over hepatitis A contaminations have been reported for frozen pomegranates in Australia, candies in the US, as well as at a number of restaurants and venues, including a Florida country club and Dunkin’ Donuts, in addition to packaged food manufacturing facilities like Townsend Farms. 

Because hepatitis A is typically passed through fecal matter, transmissions most often happen when people unintentionally ingest stool from an infected person, have anal sex with someone with hepatitis A or share needles with someone who does. 

So, health officials suspect that the virus is spreading among drug-using and homeless populations, who tend to live in unsanitary conditions. 

But as the disease spreads more rampantly among these groups, its beginning to reach others they come into contact with as well. 

For example, when employees of restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts are diagnosed with the disease, health officials issue warnings, as its possible that infected employees’ could have touched food or drink after improperly washing their hands. 

The FDA, Kroger and Costco have not released any specifics about the source of their hepatitis A concerns, and no illnesses have been confirmed.  

The latest recall came just days after Kroger recalled its own Private Selection medley, concerned over the same potenital contamination

The latest recall came just days after Kroger recalled its own Private Selection medley, concerned over the same potenital contamination 

Still, as a precaution, Costco has recalled its Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend, sold in 4lb bags, with Best By Dates Between February 16, 202 and May 4, 2020, sold in San Diego and Los Angeles, California, and Hawaii, bearing the following codes: 

  • FEB1620,(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • FEB1820,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • FEB2920,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • MAR0120,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
  • APR1920,(B),(C), or (D);
  • APR2020(A),(B),(C),(D),(E), or (F);
  • APR2720(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • APR2820(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • MAY0220(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
  • MAY0420 (H).

Kroger has recalled both its Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley, sold both in 16oz and 48oz packages, as well as its Private Selection Frozen Blackberries, sold in 16oz bags. 

The potentially affected berry medleys and blackberries are stamped with Best By dates: July 7, 2020, June 19, 2020. 

Kroger’s berries are also sold in Ralph’s Dillon’s, Harris Teeter and King Sooper stores across the US.  

Out of an abundance of caution, both stores are urging customers to throw out mixed or black berries they bought with these expiration dates. 

If you have eaten any of the recalled berries and develop sudden nausea, vomiting or stomach pain, fatigue, dark urine, a low fever, clay-colored stool, or joint pain – symptoms of hepatitis A – be sure to call your doctor.


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