Costco Berries Lead to 13 HEP A Cases – Statement Ontario CMO APRIL 19, 2016

Statement From Chief Medical Officer of Health on Hepatitis A

April 19, 2016

Today, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued the following statement:

“Members of the public who consumed Costco’s Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend frozen berries in the last 14 days are advised to get a hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible. This applies only to individuals who have not been previously fully vaccinated against hepatitis A.

This advisory is in regards to any of this product that was purchased from any Costco location in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador between December 11, 2015, and April 15, 2016.

Costco is working together with public health units across the province to have hepatitis vaccines available for Ontarians. Costco locations are holding free hepatitis A vaccine clinics for individuals affected by the recall.  Should consumers have questions or concerns, please contact Costco or your public health unit.

To date, 13 cases of hepatitis A linked to this recall have been reported in Canada, 10 of which have been reported in Ontario.

Details regarding the recall can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has advised that Costco is contacting customers who purchased Nature’s Touch Organic Berry Cherry Blend to advise them of the recall and offer a hepatitis A vaccine to anyone who consumed their product in the last 14 days. Costco store locations should be contacted directly for details.

Food premises that might have purchased the recalled product for service to the public are asked to contact their local health unit.”


Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause a liver infection. Symptoms can last a few days to several months. The virus is rarely fatal and most people develop lifetime immunity following infection. Hepatitis A can be serious, however, especially for older people and those with chronic liver disease. For these individuals, there is a greater risk of hospitalization and death.

This virus is transmitted from person-to-person by the fecal-oral route. It is found in feces of a person infected with the virus and one common route of exposure is food contaminated by infected food handlers. This can occur by directly handling already cooked or ready-to-eat foods with unclean bare hands or through food contact with dirty disposable food handling gloves.

Hepatitis A can be avoided by:

  • Not handling or preparing food for anyone if you are ill
  • Washing your hands often and thoroughly using soap and water especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing or eating food
  • If wearing disposable food handling gloves, change them often as gloves cannot be washed and reused
  • Avoid sharing common items such as cups and finger foods (for example popcorn)
  • Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and lettuce.


  1. We never buy groceries at Costco and in July is the time for my husband’s renewal of his card membership and we are not renewing it at all. My husband used to buy cigarettes at Costco but no more they stopped selling them. Costco is a place where you buy in bulk and we don’t buy anything like that so it was a waste for us.

  2. It’s good that Costco stepped up on this matter. They didn’t have to. They could have put the blame on their supplier.

    As for Costco not selling cigarettes any longer that is chain wide. Money made from cigarette sales is very thin and if Costco isn’t making enough profit from an item it will be dropped. And just maybe Costco is jumping on the healthy wagon, as other retailers are doing.

  3. Hugger Costco had plenty of customers for cigarettes and not just ordinary patrons like ourselves but also people who have restaurants and bars used to buy in bulk from them and used their business card to show that they were a business. Shopping carts would be filled to the rim with such things. The same goes for the food, etc. a lot of businesses go there and shop for very little.

  4. My husband and I along with our kids do not like freezing foods for long and we go to the stores every week and sometimes twice a week for groceries and we don’t care to buy in bulk and another thing is there is not much space in this tiny place to put anything. Costco was good for Robert since he had a big family and other big families but it is a loss for us.

  5. The only Costco stores that sell or sold cigarettes were one in Kanata area and the other was in Gatineau and this was the last time that I have contacted Costco by phone to find out about the sale of cigarettes.

  6. Perhaps….but Costco is dropping cigarette sales chain wide. Soon cigarettes will jo longer be available at Costco at any Canadian stores.

  7. There were a number of very wealthy people in the 20’s era who did bootlegging and one was Al Capone. The Great Depression hit mighty hard on people and a lot resorted to illegal activities. Cigarettes are already big business in Cornwall and many other places and like my husband said people have to live and there are very few jobs. The government will lose if there are no cigs nor booze.

  8. Jules….the government won’t lose. Those needing their cigarette or booze will always buy it, no matter where the store is. Costco eliminating cigarette sales is just a minor inconvenience for cigarette smokers.

  9. Hugger there are plenty of Lebanese and others who look like our Native people and they bring back cigarettes by the cases and booze, etc. There will be more smuggling than ever if stores quit selling cigs. The government makes plenty of money off people who smoke and drink but they don’t make it on yours truly because I don’t do either but my husband and son do unfortunately.

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