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Class Action Filed Against Townsend Foods Over Hepatitis A Contaminated Mixed Berries

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Portland, OR: A food poisoning class action lawsuit has been filed against an Oregon-based fruit grower, alleging the plaintiff had to seek medical care after consuming a frozen berry mix tied to hepatitis A outbreaks in Colorado and other western states.

The lawsuit, filed by Suzanne Faber, alleges she sought a hepatitis A vaccination after consuming The Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend of berries she purchased from a Costco at 5050 N. Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs. She does not specify whether she contracted hepatitis A. The mixed berries have since been removed from Costco stores.

The Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend was responsible for sickening 161 people in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii, Washington, and California, according to a September 13 public health notice by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .

The mixed berries ad pomegranate seeds were sold at Costco stores beginning in early 2013 and subsequently removed in May, when the CDC announced the finding of Hepatitis A contamination. Costco also issued a product recall and warned customers against consuming the berries.

Hepatitis A is a chronic liver disease that causes fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and a yellowing of the eyes and skin, among other symptoms. The disease is associated with foods tainted with fecal matter, and the illness can last from several weeks to several months. In some cases hepatitis A can be fatal.

According to the CDC, 70 consumers required hospitalization after contracting the disease. No deaths were reported.

Purely Pomegranate Inc, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as the Hepatitis A contamination was linked to a shipment of pomegranate seeds Townsend Farms received from Purely Pomegranate, which had, in turn, been imported from a producer in Turkey.

The class seeks to represent anyone who ate the tainted berries and contracted hepatitis A or underwent testing or vaccination for the disease. People who came into close contact with sickened consumers are also eligible.

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