FDA to detain pomegranate seeds offered for import from Goknur of Turkey
Company's pomegranate seeds may contain Hepatitis A virus
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat Ihracat Tic [Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading] of Turkey when they are offered for import into the United States.
This action results from an investigation by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health authorities into a multi-state outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses associated with Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend, a frozen food blend containing pomegranate seed mix.
By combining information gained from the FDA's traceback and traceforward investigations and the CDC's epidemiological investigation, the FDA and CDC have determined that the most likely vehicle for the Hepatitis A virus appears to be a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from Goknur used by Townsend Farms to make the Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends that were recalled in June. These seeds were also used by Scenic Fruit Company to make their recently recalled Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.
"This outbreak highlights the food safety challenge posed by today's global food system," said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. "The presence in a single product of multiple ingredients from multiple countries compounds the difficulty of finding the cause of an illness outbreak. The Hepatitis A outbreak shows how we have improved our ability to investigate and respond to outbreaks, but also why we are working to build a food safety system that more effectively prevents them."