Updated July 1, 11:34 a.m.: The Food and Drug Administration says it will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from a Turkish company when offered for import because of a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to a frozen-food blend containing pomegranate seed mix, the Associated Press reports. The FDA says the action follows an investigation by its officials and those with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local health authorities. The FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a Turkish company, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.
Originally published July 29, 8:59 a..m.: Scenic Fruit Co. of Gresham, Ore. is voluntarily recalling 5,091 cases (61,092 8-ounce bags) of Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels because they potentially harbor the hepatitis A virus, the Food and Drug Administration reports. The FDA informed the family-owned firm on Tuesday that the seeds might be tainted. Scenic bought them from a U.S. supplier.
No illnesses are currently associated with the frozen pomegranate seeds, and testing to date hasn't found any hepatitis in the product. The company's decision to recall the fruit is made from “an abundance of caution” (translation: They don't want the legal headache Fairview, Ore.-based Townsend Farms is going through right now).
The organic pomegranate seeds used in the product were imported from Turkey, as were the pomegranate seeds implicated in the hepatitis A outbreak associated with Townsend Farm's frozen berry blend sold at Costco. Nearly 130 people in eight states have been sickened in that outbreak.
Products were shipped from February 2013 through May 2013 to distribution centers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington state.
The recalled packages have UPC Code 0 42563 01628 9. The following lots are subject to this recall:
• C 0129 (A,B, or C) 035 with a best by date of 02/04/2015
• C 0388 (A,B, or C) 087 with a best by date of 03/28/2015
• C 0490 (A,B, or C) 109 with a best by date of 04/19/2015
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the hepatitis A virus, including from food. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months, the FDA says.
Consumers with the product should toss it immediately.
For more information about the outbreak, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636.
You can also contact the Scenic Fruit Company at (877) 927-3434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org from Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT, about this seedy business.
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