As you might have heard by now, there has been an increase in the number of hepatitis A cases in Ontario. Public health agencies have linked these cases of hepatitis A to Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend sold by Costco (see photo below).
This is a serious concern, but there’s no need to hit the panic button. Here’s what you need to ask:
- Did you purchase and eat this product from Costco with best before dates up to and including March 15, 2018 (reads “2018 MR 15” on package)? Check your freezer.
- Did you or a family member sample the product at Costco?
If the answer is yes or if you are not sure, you should see your health care provider for an assessment. If you have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A and you have eaten the product it is highly recommended you receive the hepatitis A vaccine. If vaccination is given within two weeks of exposure, it can prevent symptoms from starting. Your family doctor will write you a prescription for the hepatitis A vaccine. You are immune to hepatitis A for life if you already received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine or if you were once infected with the virus. Recalled products should be returned to Costco or thrown out.
Children often do not show symptoms of hepatitis A, even if they are infected with it. In healthy adults and children, symptoms are often mild and last one to two weeks and may include fever, low appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and yellowing in the whites of the eyes and the skin (jaundice). More severe cases can last several months, but most people make a full recovery. For more information about hepatitis A, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.
Hepatitis A can be further spread through infected stool. This is a good reminder of why hand washing is so important, especially after using the washroom, diaper changes and before handling food.
If you have any questions about either this food recall or hepatitis A vaccination, dial 311 to connect with the Halton Region Health Department.
For ongoing information about this recall, see the Public Health Agency of Canada’s recall web page.