Latest hepatitis outbreak likely linked to pomegranate seeds, CDC reports

Public health officials now say the “most likely” culprit in a recent hepatitis outbreak that -- at last count -- had infected 153 people in nine states is a shipment of pomegranate seeds from a Turkish importer/exporter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week, “the most likely vehicle for the hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.”

In the wake of the determination, officials said they were “detain(ing)” further pomegranate seed shipments from Goknur, and working with U.S. importers to alert anyone who had purchased products incorporating the seeds.

As of mid-week, 22 people in Arizona had contracted the virus, along with: 75 people in California; 27 in Colorado; eight in Hawaii; one in New Hampshire; nine in New Mexico; six in Nevada; three in Utah; and two in Wisconsin.

All of the those who fell ill, the CDC reports, contracted the virus after eating a portion of ‘Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend,’ purchased at Costco, although Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Ore., also has recalled some lots of “Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernals," as well.