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Smoothies May Have Contained Hepatitis, Colorado Health Officials Warn

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As the number of cases related to an outbreak of hepatitis A continues to grow, Colorado health officials are warning smoothie drinkers they may have come in contact with the pathogen at two restaurants in the state.

Smoothies delivered to customers of the Groovy Greens smoothie delivery service in Boulder, based in Niwot, and at the Sweet Pea Restaurant in Steamboat Springs may have contained recalled Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berry mix, which originated from Oregon-based Townsend Farms.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that when the berry blends were recalled earlier this month, both establishments stopped using the product. The restaurant staff then tried to identify customers who may have come in contact with the tainted berries.

Between May 24 and June 8, if customers of Sweet Pea Restaurant in Steamboat Springs drank a “Berry Blast” smoothie, they’re urged to seek medical care if they start showing signs of a hepatitis infection.

Anyone who consumed a Groovy Greens smoothie within the past 14 days, that was originally prepared prior to May 31, should contact their healthcare provider to discuss vaccination, health officials say.

Nationwide, 110 people across seven states have been confirmed to have fallen ill with hepatitis A after eating the berry blend. The ages of those sickened ranges from two to 87 years old.

The Associated Press reports:

State officials say no hepatitis cases have been tied to the two restaurants, but 22 cases have been identified in Colorado residents. The two companies did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that usually begins to show symptoms about a month after initial exposure. Those symptoms can include fatigue, stomach pain, jaundice, dark urine and clay-colored stool. 

As KUNC’s managing editor and reporter covering the Colorado River Basin, I dig into stories that show how water issues can both unite and divide communities throughout the Western U.S. I edit and produce feature stories for KUNC and a network of public media stations in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada.
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