Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Potentially
Associated with a Frozen Food Blend

The FDA, the CDC, and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses potetially associated with Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend, a frozen blend containing pomegranate seed mix.

Posted May 31, 2013

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses potentially associated with a frozen food blend. We are moving quickly to learn as much as possible and prevent additional people from becoming ill. We recognize that people will be concerned about this outbreak, and we will continue to provide updates and advice.


What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

As of May 31, 2013, 30 people infected with Hepatitis A have been reported from 5 states: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California.  

Through interviews with ill patients, the CDC has reported that 11 of 17 patients interviewed thus far recalled eating Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend. 
FDA has begun an inspection of the processing facilities of Townsend Farms of Fairview, Oregon.  The FDA is also developing a protocol to test berries for the Hepatitis A virus (HAV), and will be testing samples related to the outbreak, including the frozen blend for the presence of HAV.  The FDA is working closely with the CDC and state and local agencies and will provide updates as soon as they become available. 

What is Hepatitis A? 

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces, or stool, of an infected person.

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A? 

Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Who is at Risk? 

Hepatitis A is a human disease and usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene.  However, food contaminated with HAV, as is suspected in this outbreak, can cause outbreaks of disease among persons who eat or handle food.


In rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or immune compromise, HAV infection can progress to liver failure and death.  Persons with underlying liver conditions should be vaccinated.

What Do Consumers and Retailers Need To Do? 

CDC recommends that consumers do not eat ‘Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend’ and discard any remaining product from your freezers. Even if some of the product has been eaten without anyone in your home becoming ill, the rest of the product should be discarded.

Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to the contaminated product. 


If you consumed this product in the last two weeks and have never been vaccinated, contact your health care provider to find out if you should be vaccinated.  If you don’t have a health care provider (usually your doctor) contact your health department. You can find health department contact information at

If you have already received the hepatitis A vaccination in the past, you are unlikely to become ill with the disease.

CDC recommends that retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend.

Who Should be Contacted?

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the website:


U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses