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FDA investigating Hepatitis A outbreak possibly linked to Fresh Thyme Market blackberries

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses that may possibly be linked to some blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

Ill patients reported consuming fresh conventional (non-organic) blackberries from the store in three states, including Indiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, the FDA said on November 20.

The FDA is urging people to not eat any fresh conventional blackberries if purchased between September 9 and September 30 from Fresh Thyme Market stores in 11 states. The blackberries should be thrown away.

If consumers purchased and consumed the berries mentioned above in the last two weeks and have not been vaccinated for the Hepatitis A virus, they should seek medical advice, according to the FDA.

The 11 impacted states are:

  • Iowa
  • Illinois 
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri 
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska 
  • Ohio 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Wisconsin

To read more from the FDA about the blackberry investigation, click here.

A spokesperson for Fresh Thyme released the following statement on Thursday regarding the investigation:

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, in conjunction with other state and local agencies, have contacted us concerning a recent Hepatitis A outbreak in three states in the Midwest affecting an unspecified number of individuals. These agencies are investigating and believe that affected people may have consumed fresh conventional (non-organic) blackberries between September 9 and September 30, 2019. We are fully cooperating with these agencies on the investigation and are awaiting next steps.

At this time, there is no reason to believe that any of the product was contaminated via handling in our stores. In addition, the agencies are ONLY concerned with product purchased between September 9 and September 30; product purchased or consumed outside of these dates are NOT subject to the investigation. We are working with these agencies to identify our suppliers and isolate the source of this contamination. Fresh Thyme takes the health and safety of our customers and our team members very seriously. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market has a stringent process for ensuring compliance to all local, state and federal health and hygiene regulations.

Should any customers have any of the fresh conventional blackberries purchased between September 9 and September 30, remaining in their refrigerators or freezers, they should be discarded immediately or returned to Fresh Thyme for a refund. In Douglas County, NE, if you purchased any of these berries between September 9 and September 30, and still have them, please take them to the local health department for testing.

Again, Fresh Thyme is committed to the health and safety of our customers, and we will continue to work closely with these agencies to determine the source of the contamination.

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