The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is notifying customers of Groovy Greens in Niwot and Sweet Pea Restaurant in Steamboat Springs that they may have been exposed to hepatitis A. Smoothies made at these establishments may have contained the recently recalled Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, produced by Townsend Farms and sold at Costco warehouses in many western states.
“The recalled Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix product has been identified as the source of an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the western United States, with at least 118 cases identified so far,” said Lisa Miller, state epidemiologist.
Twenty-two cases have been identified in Colorado residents. To date, no cases have been associated with consumption of smoothies from either of these two food establishments. Owners of these establishments stopped using the berries when they became aware of the product recall and are cooperating with public health officials in identifying potentially exposed customers. Public health officials were notified by the Food and Drug Administration of the use of the berries in these establishments on June 18, and the establishments were immediately notified.
Customers of Sweet Pea Restaurant located at 729 Yampa St. in Steamboat Springs who consumed a “Berry Blast” smoothie sold between May 24 and June 8 may have been exposed to hepatitis A. These individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and seek health care if they become ill. Hepatitis A vaccination may prevent illness for anyone who was exposed to the disease in the last 14 days. These individuals should check with their health care provider for vaccine or may obtain vaccine at a walk-in vaccination clinic to be held at the Steamboat Springs Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Suite 101, 940 Central Park (970-879-1632), on Thursday, June 20 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or on Friday, June 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Customers of Groovy Greens smoothie delivery service, serving the Boulder and Longmont area, who consumed a smoothie sold between April 15 and May 31 may have been exposed to hepatitis A. These individuals should watch for symptoms of hepatitis A and seek health care if they become ill. Hepatitis A vaccination may prevent illness for anyone who was exposed to the disease in the last 14 days. Anyone who consumed a Groovy Greens smoothie within the past 14 days, that was originally prepared prior to May 31, should contact their health care provider to discuss vaccination. Groovy Greens customers who do not have a healthcare provider may contact Boulder County Public Health at 303-413-7500. Boulder County health officials also request that Groovy Greens customers contact them if they still have smoothies that were prepared prior to May 31.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that results from exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Illness from hepatitis A generally begins around 28 days after exposure (range, 15–50 days) and symptoms include fatigue, stomach pain, jaundice, dark urine and clay-colored stool. Hepatitis A can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. In rare cases, the infection can lead to liver failure, particularly in individuals who have a pre-existing liver disease or weakened immune systems. Vaccination for hepatitis A is available, and can prevent infection if given before exposure or within 14 days after exposure.
For more information, please see the CDC website or call COHelp at 1-877-462-2911 or 303-389-1687. COHelp is available 9 a.m. to– 10 p.m. Monday – Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.