Minnesota health officials are reminding consumers to avoid eating fresh, non-organic blackberries purchased between September 9 and September 30, 2019, from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery stores, following an advisory from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) last week.
The reminder comes after one case of hepatitis A associated with this outbreak was identified in Minnesota. The person was hospitalized and has since recovered.
If you purchased fresh, non-organic blackberries from Fresh Thyme Farmers Market between September 9 and September 30, 2019, and then froze them to use around the holidays, do not eat them. Throw them away.
Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating these blackberries. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), as well as dark urine and clay-colored stools. If you believe you have eaten these berries in the last two weeks, talk to your health care provider about getting the hepatitis A vaccine — this can help you avoid getting sick.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is continuing to work with MDA, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other partners to investigate the outbreak of hepatitis A associated with eating fresh, non-organic blackberries purchased from Fresh Thyme Famers Market stores between September 9 and September 30, 2019.
Nationally, there are 14 cases from five states (Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin). Illnesses started between October 8, 2019, and November 15, 2019. Eight people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported. Information gathered in the investigation shows the berries were shipped from a distribution center to Fresh Thyme Farmers Market stores in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
These hepatitis A cases associated with blackberries are separate from the hepatitis A outbreak in Minnesota that is primarily affecting people experiencing homelessness or unstable housing, people who use street drugs (injection and non-injection) , and those who have been incarcerated recently.
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended for all children starting at age 1 year, for travelers to certain countries and for people at high risk for infection. While hepatitis A vaccination has been recommended for children since 2006, many adults have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A. Anyone who wants to be protected against hepatitis A can talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated.