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Frozen fruit recall could affect some consumers in area

By Jane Looney
Special to The SUN

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has announced a nationwide voluntary recall by Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Ore., of its Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels in eight-ounce bags. The recall was issued due to the possible contamination of the product with hepatitis A virus.

No illnesses are currently associated with Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels. The company’s decision to voluntarily recall products is made in response to an ongoing outbreak investigation by the FDA and CDC.

The product was shipped to distribution centers around the country as well as here in Colorado February 2013 through May 2013. In Durango, the product was provided to Nature’s Oasis and Vitamin Cottage (Natural Grocers).

Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels are sold in eight-ounce (227 gram) resealable plastic pouches with UPC Code 0 42563 01628 9. Specific coding information to identify the product can be found on the back portion of these pouches below the zip-lock seal.

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.

Twenty-five cases of hepatitis A infection have been identified in Colorado residents associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, which also contained pomegranate kernels from the same original source. The organic pomegranates are imported from Turkey. To date no illnesses have been associated with the Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels. The state health department is asking people to check their freezers. If you have the product, dispose of it. Do not eat it.

The risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating the Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels is unknown. However, if you have eaten Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels during the past 14 days, you can contact your medical provider for a shot to prevent illness. If you do not have a medical provider, contact San Juan Basin Health Department.

The hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Some people should receive immune globulin instead of the hepatitis A vaccine. If you ate Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels within the past 14 days please discuss with your doctor whether you should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. If you have received hepatitis A vaccine in the past, you do not need to be revaccinated.

If it has been more than 14 days since you have eaten these berries, the vaccine won’t be effective in preventing infection. Please monitor for symptoms and contact your physician if you become ill.

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. In rare cases, the infection can lead to liver failure, particularly in individuals who have a pre-existing liver disease or weakened immune systems. Illness generally occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool. It is very important if you have these symptoms that you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.

Consumers who have any of this product should not eat it and should discard it immediately, keeping proof of purchase. Consumers can contact the Scenic Fruit Company at (877) 927-3434 or e-mail to info@scenicfruit.com Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. PDT. For more information,  see the CDC website  or call San Juan Basin Health Department at 247-5702.

This story was posted on July 1, 2013.