Townsend Farms' berries may be to blame for Foxfield man's Hepatits A infection

Man is suing the company for damages

FOXFIELD, Colo. - A metro Denver man is recovering from Hepatitis A, likely caused by consuming tainted berries sold at Costco stores. The fruit is the target of a voluntary recall by its manufacturer, Oregon-based Townsend Farms.

"The fatigue to me has been the overwhelming factor in all of this," said Michael Walters who was diagnosed with Hepatitis A on June 1.

The berries were a staple of his diet, often used in daily fruit smoothies. Walters says he thought he was eating a healthy food.

"When you're doing everything right, through no fault of your own, it does weigh on you emotionally," he said.

After consuming the fruit in late May, his skin and eyes became yellow from jaundice.  He was nauseous, had a fever and muscle aches.

It was only after his daughter told him about the recall - his sickness made sense.

"It raised the red flag," he said.

Walters was briefly hospitalized.  Yet the illness has forced him to stay at home, preventing him from working and making regular trips to the gym.

"The recovery from this disease is very slow.  Very slow," he said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports 22 cases of Hepatitis A in Colorado. All 22 are suspected to be linked to the berries.

Walters is one of at least two people suing Townsend Farms for damages related to the illness.  A specific dollar amount has not been set.

"It has robbed me thus far, approximately 6 weeks of my life," he said.

The suspected source of the outbreak is Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries purchased from Costco stores and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Berry Blend sold at Harris Tweeter stores. The blend includes cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries. Townsend Farms said pomegranate seeds processed in Turkey may be linked to an illness outbreak.

Townsend Farms said it has recalled the 3 pound bags of Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend with UPC code: 0 78414 404448.

The recalled codes are located on the back of the package with the words "BEST BY," followed by the code T012415 sequentially through T053115, followed by a letter. All of these letter designations are included in this recall for the lot codes listed above.

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