BCCDC Issues Warning About Pomeberry

BC Issues Warning About Pomeberry Frozen Berries
Berry blend suspect in cases of hepatitis A infection
BY MARY ROTHSCHILD | APR 06, 2012
Eight cases of hepatitis A over the past two months in British Columbia may be linked to frozen berries, the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said Thursday as it warned consumers not to eat Pomeberry Blend frozen berries manufactured by Western Family.

The blend, which was distributed through Save-On-Foods and Overwaitea, contains frozen pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries and cherries.

According to the news release, five of the eight people ill with the virus are known to have consumed the Pomeberry product. Although there is no direct link yet, the BC health authorities suggest that as a precaution, individuals who have the Pomeberry Blend product in their refrigerator or freezer should not to consume it, and should discard it.

No other frozen berry products from Western Family are a concern at this time, the BCCDC said.

At this time, the BCCDC thinks the overall risk to the public is very low, and it is not recommending that people who have consumed the product should receive vaccine. “This will be reassessed as further information becomes available,” the agency said.

Symptoms of hepatitis A can include loss of appetite; fever; dark urine; a tired feeling (like you have the flu); vomiting; clay-colored bowel movements; a sore feeling in the upper-right stomach area; yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice). Symptoms can last from one to two weeks to several months. Some people have symptoms so mild they may not be aware they have been infected.

Most people recover completely and then are immune to re-infection.

The BCCDC recommends that anyone who has consumed Pomeberry Blend frozen berries and has symptoms compatible with hepatitis A infection should consider one of the following options:

– call the 24-hour HealthLink BC Line at 8-1-1
– contact your physician
– view the BC HealthFiles on Hepatitis at http://www.bchealthguide.org/healthfiles
– view the hepatitis A page at bccdc.ca.

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CFIA HEALTH HAZARD ALERT:

Certain WESTERN FAMILY brand POMEBERRY BLEND berries may contain Hepatitis A virus

OTTAWA, April 5, 2012 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Overwaitea Food Group are warning the public not to consume the Western Family brand Pomeberry Blend berries described below. The affected product may contain Hepatitis A virus.

The affected product Western Family brand Pomeberry Blend berries is sold frozen in 600g packages bearing UPC 0 62639 31347 0. All lot codes are affected.

This product is known to have been distributed in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario and may also have been distributed to other provinces.

This recall is a result of an ongoing food safety investigation with BCCDC and regional health authorities into a number of cases of hepatitis A in British Columbia.

Food contaminated with Hepatitis A virus may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this virus may cause hepatitis and produce a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection or chronic liver disease. The illness is usually mild and starts about 15 to 50 days after the contaminated food is eaten. It generally goes away by itself in a week or two, although it can last up to 6 months in some people. It can cause inflammation of the liver, and symptoms may include fever, low appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and yellowing in the whites of the eyes and the skin (jaundice).

The distributor, Overwaitea Food Group, Vancouver, British Columbia is recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

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