The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially determined and traced the cause of a recent Hepatitis A outbreak to the consumption of contaminated pomegranate seeds shipped by a manufacturer in Turkey.
The number of individuals affected by a nation-wide Hepatitis A outbreak has steadily risen to 153 with none of the cases resulting in fatalities. Since the first case was reported nearly a month ago, cases have been reported in nine different states including Colorado, California, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Hawaii, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.
On July 24, the CDC published the following update on their website in lieu of finding the culprit of the recent Hepatitis A outbreak :
“153 people have been confirmed to have become ill from hepatitis A after eating ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend’ in 9 states.”
Goknur Foodstuff Import and Export Trading is the Turkey-based company that initially shipped the organic brand of pomegranate seeds that were sold by only two known grocery retailers- Costco and Harris Teeter.
All individuals affected by the Hepatitis A outbreak from eating the pomegranate seeds purchased “Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend” from Costco. Currently there have been no reported Hepatitis A outbreak incidences from those who purchased the same brand of pomegranate seeds from Harris Teeter.
The FDA announced that they are working with the distributors of this brand of pomegranate seeds to ensure that the seeds do not make it to shelves, are safely recalled, and are properly notified of safety concerns of shipments. In addition, all shipments derived from Goknur Foodstuff Import and Export Trading Co are being detained and monitored.
In light of the recent Hepatitis A outbreak, the FDA is proposing new regulations and food safety standards be placed on foreign importers, this is a motion to address the rising rates of food borne illnesses.
This newest outbreak along with a recent study performed on lead-contaminated Tobasco sauces imported from Mexico are a firm reminder of how much America needs the FDA to implement and enforce these new rules of food safety in order to prevent serious foodborne illness cases from spreading to epidemic proportions.