|June 13 2013
Product linked with Hepatitis A outbreak sold in Montana
Montana state and local public health officials are working with national health agencies to respond to an outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to a frozen fruit blend sold by Costco stores, including all of those in Montana.
To date, no cases of illness have been confirmed in Montana and the product has been pulled from stores. Costco is notifying customers of the recall and instructing anyone who has consumed the product within the last two weeks to contact their health care provider.
The recalled product is Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend in a 3 lb. bag with the UPC or bar code of 0 78414 404448. The product code is located on the back of the package with the words “BEST BY” and followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter.
“Consumers should not consume the product and should discard it immediately,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “Even if some of the product has been eaten without anyone in your home becoming ill, the rest of the product should be discarded.”
Consumers wanting a refund are instructed to keep proof of purchase and contact their local Costco store or Townsend Farms Customer Service by phone at 1-800-875-5291.
Hepatitis A is a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. Illness ranges from mild, lasting a few weeks to severe, lasting several months. Hepatitis A usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food contaminated with Hepatitis A, as is suspected in this outbreak, can cause outbreaks of disease among persons who eat or handle food.
“It is important to contact your health care provider immediately if you have consumed this product and develop symptoms such as yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, pale stools or dark urine,” said DPHHS State Medical Officer Dr. Steven Helgerson.
Hepatitis A vaccine or a medication called immune globulin may prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to a contaminated product. “If you consumed this product in the last two weeks and have never been vaccinated, contact your health care provider to determine if you should be treated,” Helgerson said.
Individuals who consumed this product more than two weeks ago, are advised to closely monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and immediately contact their doctor if they become ill.
Anyone who has already received the Hepatitis A vaccination in the past is unlikely to become ill with the disease.
Up-to-date information is available at www.fda.gov or www.cdc.gov.