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Frozen berries sold at Costco in Wash. tied to hepatitis outbreak


An outbreak of hepatitis A, which has sickened more than 30 people in five states, has been linked to frozen berries sold at Costco stores.  

Anyone who purchased frozen berries under the brand “Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend” from Costco should discard them, according to the state Department of Health. The blend includes cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, and strawberries.  

No one in Washington has yet been diagnosed with hepatitis from the berries, but they have been sold in the state.  A vaccine against hepatitis A has been available since 2006, and most young children are protected against infection. But many adults and older kids have never had the vaccine. 

Costco has removed the berries from its shelves and says it’s contacting members who purchased the berries since February.  

Health officials say it’s rare for hepatitis to spread through packaged foods.

For the latest on the outbreak, see the federal Centers for Disease Control statement.

Keith Seinfeld is a former KNKX/KPLU reporter who covered health, science and the environment over his 17 years with the station. He also served as assistant news director. Prior to KLPU, he was a staff reporter at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma and a freelance writer-producer. His work has been honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.