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Can Colombia prove golden berries are not a Medfly host?

Colombian golden berry exporters may be able to improve their opportunities in the budding U.S. market thanks to initiatives such as a non-fruit fly host project, new cold storage facilities for seafreight, and the release of new varieties.

Carlos Lozano of the Colombian Uchuva Committee – ‘uchuva’ being one of many names for the fruit including physalis, Cape gooseberry and aguaymanto – tells preliminary studies show the fruit is unlikely to be a host commodity for the Mediterranean fruit fly.

“Research has been done in conjunction with ICA (Colombian Agricultural Institute) and APHIS (U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) showing that golden berries are not a host of Ceratitis Capitata, or the Mediterranean fruit fly,” Lozano says.

“The results from inspections that have been done in the [Bogota] airport for going to the U.S. since 2015 help to corroborate that golden berries are not a host of this pest.

“We are working with APHIS and ICA to see if we’ll manage to meet the protocol and show the fruit is not a host, and that would help our entry into the United States.”

But why is this relevant?

Colombian golden berry exporters have been able to ship their fruit to the U.S. with cold treatment since 2002, however the process is costly, cuts shelf life by the 14 days required for the treatment, and is limited to Atlanta as the sole port of entry.

Last year, this all changed for growers in the departments of Boyaca and Cundinamarca who have pest-free properties at 2,200 meters above sea level or higher.

The impacts have been felt very quickly. Lozano says shipments to Colombia have risen from US$ 147,000 in 2013 to US$ 500,000 last year, and he expects U.S.-bound exports could hit the US$ 1 million mark in 2016.

To put these figures in context, he mentions the country exported US$ 30 million worth of the fruit – or a volume of 6,000 metric tons (MT) – last year, with the U.S. vastly overshadowed by a predominant export focus on Europe.

However, the U.S. is much closer and would be a logical market for future development. And if the APHIS decides to officially recognize golden berries are fruit fly free it would imply exports would be permissible under a systems approach for virtually the whole country.

Lozano says Boyaca and Cundinamarca are the biggest growing regions, but significant amounts of fruit are also produced in the departments of Antioquia and Nariño. Under the current set-up fruit from these two areas can still only be shipped under the 2002 cold treatment guidelines.

“If the non-host protocol is approved, we’ll be able to export [without cold treatment] from all of Colombia, and Antioquia is an important department in golden berries.

“There is a company which is a leader in uchuva exports at the moment, called Caribbean Exotics, and they have their crop in Antioquia.”

A boost to port infrastructure

The current systems approach for approved farms in Boyaca and Cundinamarca has been for airfreight golden berry shipments to the U.S., but this mode of transport tends to imply limitations for volume. In this sense, the supply dynamics for the U.S. are similar to what they were for Europe around eight years ago before sea shipping got underway.

“The response from Europe meant that greater volumes and better logistics were needed, and that’s why we’ve been doing seafreight for some time now,” he says.

“The protocol for the work plan with the U.S. demands an inspection in the port of origin, and it demands an anti-thrips cover – in the airport there are two companies doing this with cold storage, so that the fruit arrives with all the protection that the protocol requires.

“We are also setting this up in the Port of Cartagena so that anyone who wants to export can apply these protections under the protocol,” he says, adding the new seafreight system for U.S. access should be ready within a month’s time.

Supporting production, demand through gastronomy

While Colombian golden berry growers have had to battle with the effects of drought in 2016, Lozano expects volume to still grow over the course of the coming years in line with demand.

To help producers, a partnership between the committee, ICA and its scientific investigation arm CorpoICA will soon be releasing new varieties to the industry.

“With CorpoICA we are also analyzing the genetic material for golden berries across the whole country, and we’ve had some important results with two varieties of golden berries registered in Colombia with ICA to be able to give growers and exporters material with promising characteristics. Golden berry dessert

“By that I mean productivity, fruit with higher pack-outs, good quality, and there is also research into another phytosanitary issue we’d like to get on top of for special characteristics against fusarium, but CorpoICA is still investigating.”

“The important thing is we have varieties registered in Colombia which have been promising, but the process hasn’t reached the point of deciding on names for commercialization.”

He says the committee has also been hard at work connecting with potential overseas customers in foodservice, the pharmaceutical industry and the world of haute cuisine to incorporate the fruit in more dishes and products.

He says some suggestions include using golden berries in sauces to accompany meats and seafood, or dipping the fruit in melted chocolate as a dessert in a similar way to what is often done with strawberries.

Headline photo:

Oregon growers now allowed to ship frozen berries to China

Oregon growers now allowed to ship frozen berries to China

Thanks to a collaborative effort between a Curry County cranberry harvester and government officials at the county, state and national levels, farmers of cranberries, blueberries and strawberries in Curry and Coos counties now have a chance to make greater profits when exporting their product to China.

That’s because of a regulatory change approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, which now allows the federal agency to issue the phytosanitary certificate that’s required when shipping frozen fruit to the Asian country.

Previously, the USDA would issue the clean plant certificate for fresh produce but not for frozen, which posed considerable problems for cranberry farmers like Curry County’s Robert McKenzie of Wild Rivers Fruit who at times struggled to meet the 15- to 30-day shipping deadline imposed by the certificate. McKenzie, who has shipped cranberries to China for several years, dealt with the fact that at any time a container of fruit could be seized and quarantined by Chinese customs, which in turn would hold up the process and potentially cost him thousands of dollars. And like so many other independent harvesters, McKenzie has been forced to compete with international corporations like Ocean Spray, which has the advantage of shipping its Canadian product to China through Canada, a country whose government had no qualms issuing the certificate.

Now, the changes mean the process is as simple as an inspector from Medford writing the inspection for a nominal fee.

McKenzie said that because of the huge surplus and current depressed market, cranberries have become a less valued crop, but these changes in restrictions could help an independent farmer like himself increase profits by as much as 300 percent.


Publication date: 10/29/2014

Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Berries Has Now Sickened 119

The ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A linked to a frozen berry mix sold at Costco is now known to have sickened 119 people in the western United States, according to an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of these victims, 53 have been hospitalized as a result of their infections. CDC last reported 50 hospitalizations and 113 cases, meaning that 3 of the 6 newly reported cases were hospitalizations.

The number of cases by state is as follows: Arizona (16), California (61), Colorado (24), Hawaii (5), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), and Utah (3).

CDC is now reporting that 5 cases have been in children under age 18, and that none of these cases resulted in hospitalization.

The frozen berry mix pinpointed as the outbreak source – “Organic Anti-Oxidant Berry Blend” distributed by Townsend Farms of Oregon – was sold at Costco stores in the West and at Harris Teeter stores in the East, but so far no illnesses have been connected to the product sold at Harris Teeter.

Costco distributed the product in 12 states, but to date no illnesses have been reported in 5 of these states, including Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Costco said it sold approximately 330,000 bags of the recalled product between February 2013 and the recall date in late May. The retailer said it contacted approximately 240,000 customers via phone and letters to inform them of the recall.

Food Safety News

Berries, Melons on Suspect List in Low-Key Eight-State Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Three years after one of the most deadly outbreaks involving fresh produce in U.S. history, reports at the state and local level are pointing to the existence of a widespread Salmonella outbreak that may involve berries or melons.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declined opportunities to comment on these reports, and a spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation (CORE) network said they “have not been involved in an investigation of a Salmonella outbreak linked to melons or berries.”

The spokesman said that outbreak investigations typically begin with CDC working with the state and local health departments, and then, when a regulated product is identified, FDA gets involved.

Three years ago in July, there was a deadly Listeria outbreak caused by contaminated cantaloupe grown in southeastern Colorado. That outbreak sickened 147 people in 28 states, resulting in 33 immediate deaths and another 10 who died in the aftermath. A woman who was pregnant at the time of her illness also suffered a miscarriage.

On Monday, the first report of an eight-state Salmonella outbreak possibly involving berries or melons came not from any federal or state food safety officials, but from a local health department director in Michigan.

Steve Todd, who heads the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Counties Community Health Agency, told local media outlets that a Salmonella outbreak at the Reading Summer Festival Days during the last week of July was a “cluster” in the larger outbreak.

Todd said his agency had 12 laboratory-confirmed cases stemming from the festival and several other secondary cases involving family members of those sickened.

Only a tiny percentage of the fresh fruit and produce reaching the U.S. market is ever tested before it is consumed. Todd said CDC had told his agency that the Michigan outbreak was a sub-cluster in the larger multi-state outbreak.

At about the same time, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said it was investigating nine cases of Salmonella poisoning in Beaufort County, SC, that the agency said matched a national cluster of Salmonella. The first of those reports came in Sept. 19, but it’s not clear when the first onset of the illnesses occurred.

South Carolina health officials declined to provide more information on that state’s nationally connected Salmonella cases, saying that the investigation is ongoing.

This summer saw only one major fresh produce recall. It was from the Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, CA, over a testing sample that came back positive for Listeria. There was great consumer interest in that major recall, but no related illnesses were ever confirmed by laboratory analysis.

Berries, melons, and other fresh fruit are rarely tested before they hit the market, where they are sold and quickly consumed. That can make finding unconsumed contaminated fresh fruits a very difficult task.

The testing that resulted in the Wawona recall was actually done by a foreign government testing product being imported into that country.

For several years, USDA had a program with participating states to randomly test fresh produce. It was called the Microbiological Data Program, or MDP, and, during its run, MDP did about 80 percent of the fresh produce testing that was done in the U.S. for less than $ 5 million a year.

Congress and the White House, at the behest of the politically powerful fresh fruit and vegetable industry, killed MDP two growing seasons ago. FDA did step up its fresh fruit and produce testing after MDP’s demise. It conducted 7,592 unique sample tests in 2013, up from 5,882 tests in 2011 and 5,174 tests in 2012, according to figures the agency provided to Food Safety News.

While their testing levels varied widely, the 10 state labs affiliated with MDP were testing 10,000 to 15,000 unique samples each growing season. That’s the data that are no longer available for any outbreak investigations that might be underway.

Food Safety News

Stop and smell the berries with Naturipe

Naturipe Farms launched “The Very Berry Month of May” promotion and sweepstakes earlier this month, and it will continue through May 31. Each week of May is dedicated to one specific berry: strawberries from May 5-11, raspberries from May 12-18, blackberries from May 19-25 and blueberries from May corp BLACK logo process

Entrants can enter to win via the website for a grand prize of $ 500 to William Sonoma, and one runner-up will receive $ 250 to William Sonoma.

In addition to hosting the sweepstakes, Naturipe has partnered with prominent food bloggers to celebrate all things berries. Bloggers will create custom berry recipes, write guest blog posts for Naturipe’s blog and host their own giveaways. The bloggers will also be co-hosting Naturipe’s first Twitter party on May 21 at 4 p.m. The conversation will be focused on ways to incorporate berries into one’s everyday life — from recipes, health tips and fun facts.

“May is the perfect month for this promotion,” Kyla Oberman, Naturipe’s marketing manager, said in a press release. “Not only is it National Strawberry Month, all of our berries are hitting their peaks and consumers are ready for something new, delicious and healthy.”

The promotion will utilize all of Naturipe’s social media outlets, including Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. “It’s exciting to see the increase of communication and engagement from our audience on these social platforms all about berries,” Oberman said in the release. More information is available at

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Berries and cherries yield increased over 100% in retractable roof

Berries and cherries yield increased over 100% in retractable roof

The results are in from the first year of a trial at Michigan State University where Dr Greg Lang is researching the impact of retractable roof greenhouses and rain shelters on the yield and timing of sweet cherry production. Cherry yield increased by an average of 153% and fruit is harvested 10-14 days earlier.

To see the results and learn more about the Retractable Roof Production System ™ (RRPS) for sweet cherries click here

To improve the profitability of raspberry production, Cravo began working with Dr Eric Hanson from Michigan State University.  A small trial this year in the retractable X Frame has resulted in at least a 100% increase in yield compared to plants grown outside.  This trial also led to strategies to increase plants per hectare and to make it easier to manage the spotted wing drosophila since the walls on the retractable roof can remain closed help prevent entry.

To see the results and learn more about the Retractable Roof Production System ™ (RRPS) for raspberries click here
For more information:
Benjamin Martin
Cravo Equipment Ltd
Tel: +(1) 519 759 8226 x260
Mob: +(1) 905 317 3546
Fax: +(1) 519 752 0082
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 10/18/2013

Spain: Asturian Berries continues growing in a long-term projected market

Spain: Asturian Berries continues growing in a long-term projected market

Although the blueberry campaign in Asturias, Spain, has been good, with an increase in production volumes, it has also faced difficulties because of the constant rains. “The first semester of 2013 has been the rainiest on record, with more than 1,000 litres per m² spread over very many days, which had a negative impact on the pollination of the late varieties and caused a concentration of supply in the middle of the season,” explains Juan Carlos Miranda, Manager of Asturian Berries.

Six years after its foundation, the young company Asturian Berries decided to enter the berry growing business when there were just 2 hectares in the entire Region of Asturias. The sales window it has compared to its European competitors because of the region’s weather, has made it possible for the crop’s acreage to increase to 95 hectares in just 5 years. Nowadays, it maintains an annual 35% growth. “It is a crop with a clear long-term projection,” states Juan Carlos Miranda.

Asturian Berries handles a total of 120 hectares spread between small producers in Asturias and Galicia, where they mainly grow blueberries of the Northern “highbush” type; a blueberry which, compared to Huelva’s “Southern highbush”, require many hours of cold temperatures. These blueberries perfectly complement Huelva’s production, as the latter are harvested between March and June, while Asturia’s take the June to October period. “Our greatest advantage against our largest competitors in Europe, like Poland, is that we can start the harvest earlier and finish much later.”

Asturian Berries S.L. sells the fruit as part of the Hortifrut group, through Euroberry, and it works as a cooperative for small producers, who leave the company in charge of the distribution and commercialisation of their products.

In addition to blueberries, Asturian Berries also cultivates red currant, raspberries and strawberries. “This year, as a test, we successfully carried out our first strawberry campaign, mainly with the San Andreas variety, which is harvested between August and October. It grows to large calibres and has an intense aroma and flavour thanks to Asturias’ climate. Given its great market success, we have decided to increase the production next season.”

For more information:
Juan Carlos Miranda
Asturian Berries, S.L.
T: +34 985307131
M:+34 647533700
[email protected]

Publication date: 10/9/2013

FDA probing Townsend Farms for hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen berries

TGF-FruitImageThe Food & Drug Administration has launched an investigation into Fairview, OR-based Townsend Farms after a rarely-seen strain of hepatitis A has caused 30 illnesses and preliminary epidemiological studies are pointing the finger at the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berry mix.

As of May 31, 30 people in five western states have become ill with hepatitis A, and 11 of the 17 people interviewed by health officials reported eating the frozen berry and pomegranate seed mix purchased from Costco, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Preliminary tests show the outbreak strain is genotype 1B, which is rarely seen in the Americas and circulates mainly in North Africa and the Middle East, CDC said. In fact, the genotype was identified in an outbreak in Europe linked to frozen berries earlier this year, and another outbreak in Canada linked to a frozen berry blend with pomegranate seeds from Egypt in 2012.

The Townsend Farms Organic Anti-oxidant Blend frozen berry mix associated with illnesses contained pomegranate seeds and other produce from the United States, Argentina, Chile and Turkey, according to the product label.

Townsend Farms, a sixth-generation family farm that markets fresh and frozen berries, says on its website that it is an early adopter of the Produce Traceability Initiative, and follows Good Agricultural Practices and Good Manufacturing Practices.

Along with inspecting the Townsend Farms’ processing facilities, FDA said that it is developing a protocol to test berries for the hepatitis A virus and will be testing samples related to the outbreak.

In the meantime, Costco is notifying its members who purchased the product since February, and the retailer removed the product from its shelves, CDC stated. No official recall has been announced as of press time.

California officials are advising consumers to contact their doctors if they have consumed the product in the last two weeks. Three of the six confirmed illnesses in that state have been hospitalized with the liver disease.

“People who have bought this product should discard it if still found in their home,” Ron Chapman, California Department of Public Health director and state health officer, said in a May 31 statement. “Anyone who has consumed this specific product in the last 14 days should contact their doctor to discuss possible hepatitis A prevention and treatment options.”

Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to the contaminated product.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

30 Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Organic Berries Sold at Costco

A new outbreak of Hepatitis A believed to be associated with frozen mixed berries purchased from Costco is being investigated by multiple agencies, including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  At least 30 illnesses are involved, including five in Colorado.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries purchased from Costco appear to be the source of this outbreak.

The product is an organic blend of cherries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, raspberries and strawberries. Costco has removed this product from its shelves, but has not yet issued a formal recall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the product, including testing berries for the Hepatitis A virus, which may take several weeks.

Colorado public health officials say three women and two men in the state, from ages 35 to 71, were stricken with Hepatitis A. They are from Adams, Boulder, Clear Creek, and Jefferson Counties. The state has asked people to discard the berry product if they have it in their freezers.

The risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating these berries is low, according to the Colorado public health warning. “However, if you have eaten Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries during the past 14 days, contact your medical provider for an immunization. If you do not have a medical provider, contact your local health department,”it says.

The Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Some people should receive immune globulin instead of the Hepatitis A vaccine.
If you ate these berries within the past 14 days please discuss with your doctor whether you should receive the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. If you have received hepatitis A vaccine in the past, you do not need to be revaccinated.

If it has been more than 14 days since you have eaten these berries, the vaccine won’t be effective preventing infection. Please monitor for symptoms and contact your physician if you become ill.

Early signs of Hepatitis A appear two to six weeks after exposure. Symptoms commonly include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, pain in the upper right side of the abdomen, dark urine and jaundice (yellow eyes or skin). It is very important if you have these symptoms that you do not go to work, especially if you work in food service, health care or child care.

The disease varies in severity, with mild cases lasting two weeks or less and more severe cases lasting four to six weeks or longer. Hepatitis A infection can be severe and can result in hospitalization.

Some individuals, especially children, may not develop jaundice and may have an illness so mild it can go unnoticed. However, even mildly ill people can be highly infectious. People with symptoms suggestive of hepatitis should consult a physician immediately, even if symptoms are mild.

Hepatitis A virus is spread as a result of fecal contamination (fecal-oral route) and may be spread from person to person through close contact or through food handling. Contaminated food or beverages commonly spread the virus. People are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis A when they have been in close contact with an infected person.

Food Safety News

Of bears and berries: Return of wolves aids grizzly bears in Yellowstone

July 29, 2013 — A new study suggests that the return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park is beginning to bring back a key part of the diet of grizzly bears that has been missing for much of the past century — berries that help bears put on fat before going into hibernation.

It’s one of the first reports to identify the interactions between these large, important predators, based on complex ecological processes. It was published today by scientists from Oregon State University and Washington State University in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

The researchers found that the level of berries consumed by Yellowstone grizzlies is significantly higher now that shrubs are starting to recover following the re-introduction of wolves, which have reduced over-browsing by elk herds. The berry bushes also produce flowers of value to pollinators like butterflies, insects and hummingbirds; food for other small and large mammals; and special benefits to birds.

The report said that berries may be sufficiently important to grizzly bear diet and health that they could be considered in legal disputes — as is white pine nut availability now — about whether or not to change the “threatened” status of grizzly bears under the Endangered Species Act.

“Wild fruit is typically an important part of grizzly bear diet, especially in late summer when they are trying to gain weight as rapidly as possible before winter hibernation,” said William Ripple, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, and lead author on the article. “Berries are one part of a diverse food source that aids bear survival and reproduction, and at certain times of the year can be more than half their diet in many places in North America.”

When wolves were removed from Yellowstone early in the 1900s, increased browsing by elk herds caused the demise of young aspen and willow trees — a favorite food — along with many berry-producing shrubs and tall, herbaceous plants. The recovery of those trees and other food sources since the re-introduction of wolves in the 1990s has had a profound impact on the Yellowstone ecosystem, researchers say, even though it’s still in the very early stages.

“Studies like this also point to the need for an ecologically effective number of wolves,” said co-author Robert Beschta, an OSU professor emeritus. “As we learn more about the cascading effects they have on ecosystems, the issue may be more than having just enough individual wolves so they can survive as a species. In some situations, we may wish to consider the numbers necessary to help control overbrowsing, allow tree and shrub recovery, and restore ecosystem health.”

As wolves help reduce elk numbers in Yellowstone and allow tree and shrub recovery, researchers said, this improves the diet and health of grizzly bears. In turn, a healthy grizzly bear population provides a second avenue of control on wild ungulates, especially on newborns in the spring time.

Yellowstone has a wide variety of nutritious berries — serviceberry, chokecherry, buffaloberry, twinberry, huckleberry and others — that are highly palatable to bears. These shrubs are also eaten by elk and thus likely declined as elk populations grew over time. With the return of wolves, the new study found the percentage of fruit in grizzly bear scat in recent years almost doubled during August.

Because the abundant elk have been an important food for Yellowstone grizzly bears for the past half-century, the increased supply of berries may help offset the reduced availability of elk in the bears’ diet in recent years. More research is needed regarding the effects of wolves on plants and animals consumed by grizzly bears.

There is precedent for high levels of ungulate herbivory causing problems for grizzly bears, who are omnivores that eat both plants and animals. Before going extinct in the American Southwest by the early 1900s, grizzly bear diets shifted toward livestock depredation, the report noted, because of lack of plant-based food caused by livestock overgrazing. And, in the absence of wolves, black bears went extinct on Anticosti Island in Canada after over-browsing of berry shrubs by introduced while-tailed deer.

Increases in berry production in Yellowstone may also provide a buffer against other ecosystem shifts, the researchers noted — whitebark pine nut production, a favored bear food, may be facing pressure from climate change. Grizzly bear survival declined during years of low nut production.

Livestock grazing in grizzly bear habitat adjacent to the national park, and bison herbivory in the park, likely also contribute to high foraging pressure on shrubs and forbs, the report said. In addition to eliminating wolf-livestock conflicts, retiring livestock allotments in the grizzly bear recovery zone adjacent to Yellowstone could benefit bears through increases in plant foods.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Almost 600 Sick from Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries in 3 outbreaks

It’s enough to turn me off frozen berries – he says while experimenting with a batch of gluten-free crepes filled with previously frozen berries.

As the case count for Hepatitis A linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend reaches 140, outbreaks in Northern Italy and Northern Europe have sickened 352 and 103 respectively. All linked to frozen mixed berries.

Is there a connection?

Maybe probably not, other thanhuman shit Hepatitis A is everywhere, vaccines work, people in various countries don’t wash their hands and global trade in the smallest of ingredients complicates outbreak investigations.

The Italians fingered mixed berries (redcurrant, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries) and a dealer that received consignments of berries from different countries (mix made in Italy, with raw material from Bulgaria, Canada, Poland, and Serbia).

The Nords fingered frozen strawberries as the likely cause but could not exclude other frozen berries. The origin of the berries is still being investigated.

On Wednesday, Swedish supermarket chain Ica announced it was removing all frozen strawberries and some frozen mixed berries from its shelves. The berries come from Morocco and Egypt.

The Americans fingered a common shipment of pomegranate seeds from a company in Turkey, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading, and will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur arriving into the U.S. Those pomegranate seeds were used by Townsend Farms to make the Townsend Farms and Harris Teeter Organic Antioxidant Blends and by Scenic Fruit Company to make the Woodstock Frozen Organic Pomegranate Kernels.

The Italians say the genotype and the sequence of the Hepatitis A virus isolated in the Italian outbreak is different from the U.S. and Nordic outbreaks.

Keep on investigating, investigators.

And know thy suppliers.

Maybe I’ll go for the gluten-free buckwheat pancakes instead and cook the berries in the batter. But there’s still that cross-contamination factor in the kitchen.

This article originally appeared on BarfBlog July 4, 2013. It has been updated to reflect the number of illnesses linked to the Townsend Farms outbreak as of July 5.

Food Safety News