According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Nature’s Touch recalled its Organic Berry Cherry Blend. The company said that there had been a possible Hepatitis A contamination in the product. The Organic Berry Cherry Blend had been sold only in Costco stores located in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Labrador.
Since the company announced the recall, there have been 12 cases of Hepatitis A that the Public Health Agency of Canada says is linked to the Nature’s Touch mishap. Three of the 12 have been hospitalized. Some patients recall eating the product prior to becoming sick. However, the food that has been contaminated with the virus may not appear to be spoiled, so it is not easy to determine whether or not the fruit has been affected. Health officials say that any of the 3.3 pound bags that have “Best Before” dates on or prior to March 15, 2018 should be discarded. The biggest concern for health officials is that consumers may still have the product in their homes. If you have Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry in your freezer, you can identify a contaminated bag by the following:
- Nature’s Touch brand Organic Berry Cherry Blend
- 1.5 kg (3.3 lb)
- Best Before dates up to 2018 MR 15
- UPC 8 73668 00179 1
Because the product in question has a life shelf life, the Hepatitis A had a longer incubation period within the bags of frozen fruit. The frozen fruit was on the shelf starting in mid December and there was no recall on the product until April 15.
Health officials recommend that, “If you have Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen fruit in your home, do not eat this product. If you are unsure whether a frozen fruit product you have in your home is part of the food recall warning, do not consume it. Secure the product in a plastic bag, throw it out and wash your hands with warm soapy water.”
If you think you’ve been exposed to the product, health officials recommend that you get a vaccination for Hepatitis A. Costco is assisting in vaccinations in Canada. To curb the current outbreak, Costco is beginning to offer people free vaccines for Hepatitis A. However, the company is currently declining any liability associated with the outbreak.
The company has, however, offered some advice to people in Canada that may have eaten the product. “If you have eaten the product within the last 14 days, you should visit the pharmacy located at the Costco closest to you to determine if a hepatitis A vaccination is required. If the pharmacy at your local Costco cannot provide the vaccine, or if there is no Costco with a pharmacy close to you, please visit your CLSC or CSSS,” the retailer suggested.
It is not yet clear whether any of these bags of frozen fruit were sold in the United States. Nature’s Touch said that the company is performing an “ongoing investigation as to whether any of the ingredients in this blend could have been added to any products destined for the U.S.”
The illness is usually mild, but Hepatitis A can cause an inflammation of the liver. If you’ve been affected you may experience fever, low appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle aches. The sickness associated with Hep A generally becomes apparent within 15 to 50 days after eating the contaminated food.
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Photo: Flickr: Naomi H