April 17, 2016
Hepatitis A Outbreak Forces Costco To Pull Frozen Berries From Shelves

Due to a Hepatitis A outbreak, Costco will be pulling one of their frozen fruit options from their shelves.

Nature's Touch Organic Cherry Berry Blend with a UPC code of 8 73668 00179 1, and best-buy dates up to and including March 15, 2018, are being recalled by the Canadian government.

"There have been reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product," the Canadian Food Inspection Agency explained in their recall notice about the exclusively Costco-sold brand.

The recall notice went on to explain that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency was forced to recall the berry blend due to a foodborne illness outbreak, a reference to the minor Hepatitis A outbreak affecting 3 different provinces in Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland/Labrador).

"This recall was triggered by findings of the CFIA during the investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The CFIA is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. If other high-risk products are recalled, the CFIA will notify the public through updated Food Recall Warnings."
According to the recall notice, it is extremely important that if any consumers have the Nature's Touch Organic Cherry Berry Blend product in their home, and they are unsure whether or not it is affected by the Hepatitis A recall, they should err on the side of caution. Bags of the recalled frozen fruit should either be thrown out or returned to the Costco it was purchased from.

[Photo by Nature's Touch]It is unclear if Costco is offering refunds to consumers at this time.

According to CBC News, Nature's Touch Organic Cherry Berry Blend is exclusively sold in certain Canadian locations of Costco.

"The bags are sold at Costco warehouse locations in Ontario, as well as Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador."
Three people affected by the Hepatitis A outbreak have been hospitalized at this time, but generally the Hepatitis A virus isn't cause for too much concern.

Many people affected by Hepatitis A can experience relatively minor symptoms, or even no symptoms at all. That is where the virus gets tricky.

People that have Hepatitis A but do not show symptoms, or only show minor symptoms, can still remain a carrier of the disease for up to six months and can spread it to others.

[Photo by Kateryna Kon]Elderly, children, and immunocompromised people are the most susceptible victims of Hepatitis A, and their symptoms can become severe.

The Government of Canada web site published a fact sheet about Hepatitis A, in order to aid people in growing their knowledge of the current viral outbreak.

"People infected with Hepatitis A can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others may experience symptoms like fatigue and jaundice. Most people with Hepatitis A develop the following symptoms two to seven weeks after being infected with the virus: fever, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, fatigue. Symptoms are usually mild, and the illness usually lasts one to two weeks. Although severe cases can last several months, most people recover without treatment."
There are much more dangerous and chronic versions of the Hepatitis virus out there. Still, there is a vaccine available to protect yourself and your children from Hepatitis A. If it has been issued at any time, it will last an entire lifetime. If it has not been issued and you are diagnosed with Hepatitis A, you can still be successfully vaccinated if you vaccinate within two weeks of exposure.

If you believe you have been exposed to Hepatitis A, the Canadian government recommends you see your doctor as soon as possible in order to get the best treatment available.

[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]