Not long after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall on frozen fruit due to possible Hepatitis A contamination, the agency has added another grocery supplier to the list. On June 11, the FDA issued a safety notice that frozen berries sold at Costco have also been recalled and here's what you need to know before you mix up your next smoothie.
According to the FDA's notice, Costco is recalling its 4-pound bags of Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend, distributed by Townsend Farms, as the frozen produce "may be contaminated with Hepatitis A." The contamination was found after a recent FDA sampling revealed the presence of the Hepatitis A strain in Townsend Farm black berries, which are one of three berries used for Three Berry Blend sold at Costco, according to a statement from the company. So far, none of the packages from Costco have tested positive, and there have been no cases of illness, according to CBS News.
The recalled bags have a best-by date of Feb. 16, 2020 and May 4, 2020, and were distributed at Costco stores in Southern California — specifically San Diego and Los Angles — and Hawaii, so if you're not in those locations, your chilled berries are likely safe to eat.
Luckily, the bags in question have been out of stock since in Costco stores since March 2019, so those purchased after that date should be safe, as Craig Wilson, a representative for Costco, told Romper in a statement.
But if you happen to have a bag stored in the back of your freezer, it doesn't hurt to have a close look at the labels. According to the FDA, the affected berries have the following sell-by dates in the white box on the back of the product bag:
- FEB1620,(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
- FEB1820,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
- FEB2920,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
- MAR0120,(A),(B),(C),or (D);
- APR1920,(B),(C), or (D);
- APR2020(A),(B),(C),(D),(E), or (F);
- APR2720(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
- APR2820(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
- MAY0220(A),(B),(C),(D),(E),(F),(G), or (H);
- MAY0420 (H).
Customers should not eat the recalled berries, according to CBS News. And Costco is urging them to take a picture of the bag for record keeping purposes, throw the product away, then obtain a full refund from point of purchase.
According to the International Business Times, the Costco recall is part of a larger recall from Townsend Farms that also affected Kroger brand frozen berries, including:
- 48-ounce bags of Private Section Frozen Triple Berry Medley with a Best By Date of 07-07-20 and a UPC code of 0001111079120
- 16-ounce bags of Private Selection Frozen Triple Berry Medley with a Best By Date of 06-19-20 and a UPC code of 0001111087808
- 16-ounce bags of Private Selection Frozen Blackberries with a Best Buy Date of 06-19-20 and 07-02-20 and a UPC code of 0001111087809
Romper's request for comment from Townsend Farms was not immediately returned.
Hepatitis A is a potentially life threatening viral liver disease that is spread through contaminated water or food, or through direct contact with an infected person, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The incubation period for the disease is about 14 to 28 days and symptoms can include include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice, according to the WebMD. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A and symptoms may take weeks to months to fully improve.
If customers have questions about the recall, they are urged to call Townsend Farms, Inc., customer service representatives at877-244-0947 or by email atTownsendFarms4283@stericycle.com.
If you think you might have these berries in your freezer, go ahead and do a thorough search and clean out. And when in doubt, just toss it. There's no harm in being over cautious when food safety is concerned.