Suit filed in Yolo County against frozen berry producer after hepatitis A infection

Published: Monday, Jun. 17, 2013 - 9:47 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 1:33 pm

A lawsuit has been filed in Yolo County Superior Court against Townsend Farms, the Oregon producer of a frozen berry blend that has been subject to recall.

Diego Durrell alleges in the suit filed Friday that he got sick with hepatitis A infection and was hospitalized after he ate Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, which was sold at Costco. Costco has since removed the blend from its stores and contacted those who purchased the product.

Durrell states in the suit that he bought the product in April before an outbreak of hepatitis A was associated with the berry blend.

He became ill about May 5 and was hospitalized May 15, spending two nights in intensive care. He was discharged May 18 and remains ill.

The suit said that Durrell has tested positive for hepatitis A. On June 3, Townsend Farms voluntarily recalled certain lots of the frozen blend.

The company's website said they did it "out of an abundance of caution, because it has the potential to be contaminated with hepatitis A virus."

The blend contained pomegranate seeds from Turkey that may be related to the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control reported that it is investigating acute hepatitis A illness in 106 people in eight states, including California and Nevada.

Preliminary lab tests suggest that the outbreak strain of hepatitis is one that is rarely seen in the Americas, but circulates in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the CDC.

The CDC said that in rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or comprised immune systems, hepatitis A infection can lead to liver failure and death.

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Read more articles by Bill Lindelof

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