Health Alert: Hepatitis A from Frozen Berries

It figures the one time I decide to tag along with a friend to Costco I end up buying tainted berries. I swear whenever I try and save money, it bites me in the ass. Though this would be hard to avoid. Plenty of grocery chains besides the Costco giant have been hit with recalls. It’s really hard to know where your food comes from. That pisses me off.

This morning I was on the phone with my pediatrician breathing a big sigh of relief that my kids are vaccinated against Hepatitis A. This after googling all the symptoms late into the night and having a near heart attack that my kids (or Phil and I) contracted it. I think Phil and I were vaccinated before going to Africa in 2007, though I’m not sure. My pediatrician recommended if we’re not to do so. I will.

Here’s the skinny: Townsend Farms out of Oregon imported pomegranate seeds from Turkey that are believed to be contaminated with the virus. So far, 49 people have been affected in 7 states, including California. Sure glad I bought organic berries from a quasi-local Oregon farm. I mean seriously. The food chain here in this country is so f-cked. In looking at their label, in small print, they say “Product of USA Chile Argentina & Turkey.” We have a pomegranate tree in our back yard. Why did they have to go to Turkey? Oh right, because it’s probably cheaper. Uh-huh.

On their label they describe themselves as, “A six-generation family owned operation.” In the second paragraph they state: “…We also work with berry farmers around the world that have the same values as we do about food safety…”

Wonder what they are thinking about that today. I’m not trying to pick on them. They have enough to deal with, as lawsuits are already being filed. For all I know, they may be super nice people who are just trying to run a business and make a buck. The overall problem is with our lack of oversight and regulation.

I think the only way to avoid this problem is to grow your own food and raise your own animals. I actually have been obsessing about having chickens. Maybe now I will. Martha Stewart apparently has beautiful chickens. Though I think some may have been genetically tweaked, or “developed” as they say.

Maybe now is also the time for me to start buying beef from my rancher relatives in South Dakota. I know them and trust them and if it comes directly from them, chances are it’s not tainted. It’s also a good reason to go with the CSA’s—Community Supported Agriculture. Basically they’re local farmer cooperatives that bring you baskets of fresh vegetables and fruits every week that they have grown. Personally. Not imported from Turkey.

Seems the chances are higher of someone not washing their hands if it’s from 18 states or an entire continent away. You certainly have less control when you don’t know who you are buying from and how that company is packaging them. Like Townsend Farms in Oregon.

On that note, my orange tree is blooming. I’m off to pick some. I know exactly where they came from. And that’s a relief.


Photo courtesy of



Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., said it was recalling its Organic Antioxidant Blend, a mix that includes pomegranate seeds imported from Turkey, which the company said might be the source of the virus that has affected 49 people in seven states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

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  1. by I Am Dumber Than I Thought | Fearless Feisty Mama

    On November 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

    [...] of the food chain. For god’s sakes, I wrote a blog about how upset I was when I found out I bought tainted berries. I buy organic. My relatives are ranchers in the cattle industry and I have long debated buying [...]

  2. [...] light of the Hepatitis A outbreak from the frozen berries I bought at Costco, along with my disdain for the food chain and lack of [...]