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Woman Sues Costco After Allegedly Contracting Hepatitis A From Store’s Frozen Berries

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LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A woman sued Costco Monday after she allegedly contracted hepatitis A from frozen berries she purchased at the warehouse chain’s Lakewood store.

Lynda Brackenridge, whose attorney filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, also named Townsend Farms Corp., the makers of the organic antioxidant berries, as a defendant. She’s seeking unspecified damages.

Brackenridge, who remains hospitalized with severe liver inflammation at Long Beach Memorial Hospital, told CBS2’s Juan Fernandez via phone that she began to feel sick after eating the berries with her yogurt on May 22.

“I was just so, so tired and nauseous, and I hadn’t been able to eat, so I decided I had to make an appointment with the doctor,” she said.

Doctors told Brackenridge last Thursday that her liver enzymes were high. By Saturday, it was confirmed she had hepatitis A and she was isolated from other patients, according to the lawsuit.

“I haven’t left bed or gone to work or done anything since (May) 22nd, just been in bed,” she said.

Costco announced last week that it had removed Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries from its stores.

Brackenridge’s attorney, Ron Simon, said the makers, however, did not recall the product, even though they traced the outbreak back to the pomegranate seeds found inside the berry blend from Turkey.

“It’s the same in every one of these hepatitis outbreaks…is somehow feces got in the food…and there’s no excuse for that, and one of the things our lawsuit is going to do is get to the bottom of how that happened,” he said.

Brackenridge is one of six hepatitis cases linked to the berries. The Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health are investigating the outbreak.

RELATED STORY:

6 Cases Of Hepatitis A In Calif. Linked To Frozen Berries Sold At Costco

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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