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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Costco berry recall

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Queen's University food safety expert Scott Lougheed is available to comment on the recall of a frozen berry mix sold at Costco over possible hepatitis A contamination. As of April 19, 14 cases of hepatitis A have been linked to this recall, 10 of which have been reported in Ontario. Costco is offering hepatitis A vaccines to those affected by the recall.

"For most people hepatitis A resolves on its own within a couple weeks, however there is a small chance of developing more serious liver issues," says Mr. Lougheed. "The best course of action is to return or dispose of the product if you find it in your fridge, as hepatitis A is not easily inactivated by cooking or other interventions.While the direct cause of the contamination in this case is not publicly known, hepatitis A is typically transmitted through fecal contamination. For products consumed raw and which are hand picked as is common with most berry varieties, there is the risk that unsanitary conditions in the field or among pickers can lead to contamination and illness."

Scott Lougheed is a PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen's University. His research interests include food and the environment, food waste, and food safety. 

Mr. Lougheed is available on April 20 until 3 pm, and on April 21 during the day to comment on developments relating to the recall.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.caat Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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