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Woman Sues Costco Over Tainted Berries
A woman who ate those tainted Costco berries is suing the company after being hospitalized with hepatitis A.
Lynda Brackenridge's lawyer filed the suit Monday. She bought the frozen berries at the chain's Lakewood store. After eating the berries in her yogurt, she became weak and nauseous and finally realized it wasn't the flu.
Brackenridge, who remains hospitalized in "guarded condition" with severe liver inflammation at Long Beach Memorial Hospital. She is in isolation and unable to talk the press in person, but told CBS’s Juan Fernandez by phone that she began to feel sick 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. It was later confirmed she had hepatitis A. “I haven’t left bed or gone to work or done anything since the 22nd, just been in bed,” she said.
The suit describes her symptoms in more detail. According to City News Service, "She began to experience additional symptoms, including vomiting and dry heaves, darkened urine and yellowing of the eyes and skin."
Costco announced last week that it had removed Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen berries from its stores. Brackenridge's suit also names Townsend Farms. Her lawyer, Ron Simon, said that they failed to recall the product even after realizing the outbreak was from pomegranate seeds from Turkey that were part of the berry blend.
“It’s the same in every one of these hepatitis outbreaks. Somehow feces got in the food and there’s no excuse for that," Simon told CBS. "One of the things our lawsuit is going to do is get to the bottom of how that happened."
Before contracting hepatitis A, the 51-year-old Brackenridge says she led an active life that included hiking, kayaking and climbing, according to CNS.
She is one of six hepatitis cases linked to the berries in California, so a class action lawsuit is a distinct possibility. Federal and state agencies are looking into the outbreak, which has affected 34 people so far nationwide, according to NBC.
Orange County health officials are encouraging anyone who may have consumed the berries to contact them at (800) 564-8448.