November 20th 2019 Blackberry Investigation

A bowl of blackberries sitting in honey.

On November 20th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (USDA) released a statement about an ongoing investigation. There is the possibility that fresh conventional blackberries being sold by Fresh Thyme Farmers Market could be contaminated with Hepatitis A. The contaminated berries can be traced back from distribution centers from 11 states across the country which include: IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, MN, NE, OH, PA, and WI. Illnesses have been reported in Indiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin and could be connected to the berries being sold by Fresh Thyme.

The USDA recommends that consumers should not be purchasing any fresh conventional blackberries from Fresh Thyme at this moment. If consumers have purchased these berries between September 9th, 2019 and September 30th, 2019 they should be discarded. Even if the berries had been frozen, they should still be thrown away.

If a consumer bought the blackberries between September 9th and September 20th and ate the berries, and do not have the hepatitis A vaccine (HAV), they should talk to a doctor immediately. Those who have had the HAV should be fine. If a consumer has any questions they should talk to their current health care provider.

Hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. A hepatitis A virus (HAV) cause an infection with several symptoms which include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, and dark urine. If the HAV infection is more sever, it can lead to liver failure and death. This illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days after consuming contaminated foods. People usually can recover within one or two months.  

As a general reminder, make sure to wash fresh produce before you cook it. This can help to remove bacteria and other harmful pathogens. If you have food that is contaminated, wash your fridge where the food was stored. Use one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of water to sanitize the surfaces of the fridge. Also make sure to wash your hands after preforming the cleaning and sanitation process.

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