Hepatitis A outbreak creates fruit fears

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PALISADE, Colo. (KKCO) -- After a Hepatitis A outbreak sickened more than a hundred people in eight states, including Colorado, many are now concerned about the safety of the fruit they are consuming.

Townsend Farms was forced to recall its organic antioxidant frozen berries sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores after the fruit was linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak.

With Western Colorado's fruit season around the corner, it's important to know how to keep you and your family safe.

Farmer Bob of Alida's Fruits is a long-time farmer here on the Western Slope, and he says he makes sure the fruit on his farm is clean.

"The fruit grown in Western Colorado is very clean, very healthy and very little contamination of any kind," said Bob.

He says it's rare for contamination to happen at a farm.

"With peaches or any tree fruit, if one of them falls on the ground, you don't pick it up because that is where the contamination can come from and we do not grow organic. Organic is a prime place for pathogens to thrive," says Bob.

According the Mesa County Health Department, the best way to prevent food contamination is by prevention.

"The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is, of course, vaccinations, by receiving your recommended vaccines both as a child and as an adult. And also this is a really good reminder for folks that if you're ill, not to handle or fix food for others and also just proper handwashing," said Tamara Capp of the Mesa County Health Department.

Hepatitis A usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene.

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