Hepatitis A Investigation Leads FDA to Pomegranate Seeds From Turkey

Posted on July 2, 2013

Recently, a Hepatitis A outbreak in a handful of states across the country led to the launch of an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, various local agencies, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  By last Thursday, 127 people had reportedly become ill after consuming an Organic Antioxidant Blend product from Townsend Farms.  Some of those persons resided in California.

After looking into the issue, the CDC came to the conclusion that this particular Hepatitis A strain is common to the Middle East and North Africa regions, but not so much in North America.

Now, the FDA has been able to trace the contamination to Turkey; specifically, they blame the outbreak on a series of pomegranate seeds exported to the United States from the Turkey-based Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.  In addition to the aforementioned product, it is believed that these seeds were used in the production of a similar berry blend under the Harris Teeter brand and in Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels from the Scenic Fruit Company.

The FDA deduced that the pomegranate seeds were to blame because that was the only ingredient used in all three of the products.  The deputy commissioner of the foods and veterinary medicine branch of the FDA said that this outbreak exemplifies the issues the FDA currently has to deal with.  One product has numerous ingredients from numerous countries, making it hard to ascertain what specific item may be to blame for a contamination.

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