A hepatitis A outbreak has been traced to Townsend Farms frozen berries sold at Costco and Harrison Teeter stores. According to NBC News, over 60 people in seven U.S. states have been infected with hepatitis A due to contaminated Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries. Reports of the illness began to surface on April 29, affecting victims between the ages of two and 71. At least 11 of those infected have been hospitalized.
One of those hospitalized was 51-year-old Lynda Brackenridge, who has filed a lawsuit against Townsend Farms and Costco, where she purchased the Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries. Brackenridge, a resident of Lakewood, California, began to experience symptoms of the contagious liver disease on May 22. It started with fatigue, chills and loss of appetite, which then grew into more pronounced symptoms like vomiting, darkened urine, and yellowing of the skin and eyes a few days later. She checked into a hospital where physicians told her she had severe liver inflammation. After being transferred to Long Beach Memorial Hospital, her doctors confirmed that Brackenridge had been infected with hepatitis A.
"It's very scary that this can happen to anyone," Brackenridge told reporters from her hospital bed. She is seeking unspecified damages in her lawsuit against Townsend Farms and Costco. The thrust behind the lawsuit, she says, is to increase regulations on food companies. "Hopefully bringing attention to it like this will prevent something like this from happening."
Several other people have also filed claims against Townsend Farms and Costco. Others that ate the frozen berries and subsequently got hepatitis A shots are poised to join a class action lawsuit. If you have the Organic Antioxidant Blend of frozen berries in your freezer, discard them immediately and contact Townsend Farms at (800) 875-5291.