Health Officials Warn Residents of Contaminated Berry Mix

By Beacon Staff

Health officials are warning residents about a frozen berry mix sold at Costco that has been linked to hepatitis A, the Flathead City-County Health Department announced Wednesday.

Townsend Farms, of Fairview, Ore., is recalling its frozen berry mix, called the Organic Antioxidant Blend, that was sold at the Costco in Kalispell and other Costco stores across Montana. The product has been linked to at least 49 hepatitis A illnesses.

Health officials said they have worked closely with the Costco store in Kalispell to remove the products from the shelves. However 327 units were sold in Kalispell between May 13 and May 31.

Consumers who purchased the Townsend Farm frozen berry mix are being advised not to eat any of the product. Consumers who purchased the product may contact Costco for a refund.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can last up to several months. The disease can be contracted when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. Food already contaminated with hepatitis A can also cause outbreaks. Illness can occur within 15 to 50 days following an exposure. Symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), abnormal liver tests, dark urine, and pale stool. Although hepatitis A can cause severe illness, nearly all who become ill recover completely with no lasting liver disease.

Vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of an exposure, according to the health department, and those who have already been vaccinated are unlikely to become ill.

Health officials advise anyone who consumed the product to consult with their healthcare provider or the health department.

A full listing of affected products can be found on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.