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3rd Prd 10:40

Berries linked to hepatitis A recalled

WASHINGTON — An Oregon company is recalling a frozen berry mix sold to Costco and Harris Teeter stores after the product was linked to at least 49 hepatitis A illnesses in seven states.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., is recalling its frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores.

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The federal Centers for Disease Control said the illness count has risen from 34 to 49 people. Illnesses were reported last week in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California, and the CDC said that there are additional illnesses reported in Hawaii and Utah.

The recall came three days after the FDA and the federal Centers for Disease Control first announced a suspected link between the berries and the illnesses. The agency did not say why there was not an immediate recall.

Costco has stores across the country, while Harris Teeter stores are in eight East Coast states and the District of Columbia.

Both grocery chains have said they have pulled the product from store shelves.

The FDA said it is inspecting the processing facilities of Townsend Farms. The CDC said the strain of hepatitis is rarely seen in North or South America but is found in North Africa and the Middle East.

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