LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska and federal health officials say a hepatitis A outbreak that includes Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin has been traced to blackberries sold in Fresh Thyme grocery stores.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says in a news release Wednesday that the outbreak began several week ago in Nebraska. The department says it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating and have confirmed 11 cases. Six of those cases are in Nebraska.
The FDA is urging consumers in Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin and eight other states not to eat any fresh blackberries bought from Fresh Thyme between Sept. 9 and Sept. 30. The other states are Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver and can cause mild, flu-like symptoms for several weeks.
Fresh Thyme released the following statement to FOX 8 Thursday morning, “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 impacted blackberries remaining in their refrigerators or freezers, they should be discarded immediately or returned to Fresh Thyme for a refund.