Brother’s Produce, the produce market at the center of the Hepatitis A case that prompted a state health alert, has removed all produce from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, 2019, according to a statement the business issued on Saturday afternoon.
“Our family’s first priority has always been and remains the health and safety of our customers and employees,” read the statement released by Keith Furlong on behalf of the family-run business.
The Gaber family has been operating the business for two decades, according to the statement. Municipal health inspectors conducted a “thorough inspection” of the facilities at 327 East Railway Avenue. After the inspection, the city allowed the business to remain open.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Brothers Produce has already removed all produce from the time period of September 30 to October 5,” statement read. “We are committed to providing our customers with quality produce and goods.”
A food handler employed by Brother’s Produce tested positive for Hepatitis A. The person worked while “potentially infectious” between Sept. 30 and Oct. 5, 2019. State and local health officials are urging people, who may have purchased produce from the business during that six-day window to throw them out.
Workers who came in contact with the former employee were sent for health screening, said the statement.
In addition to throwing away produce purchased in that six-day window, both the New Jersey Health Department and the Paterson Health Department are also asking anyone who may have eaten produce purchased from the business and were not previously vaccinated against Hep A to get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) done.
PEP may be obtained from a health care provider, according to information released Friday. To be effective PEP should be received as soon as possible after eating contaminated food, but no later than Oct. 19.
Uninsured individuals may obtain PEP, which is made up of a hepatitis A vaccine and immune globulin to reduce risk of acquiring the highly contagious liver infection caused by hepatitis A virus from the Board of Health in Paterson.
The Board of Health ran out of 50 vaccines it had within 2 hours on Saturday morning. More vaccines will arrive on Wednesday. Uninsured individuals are asked to call the Paterson Health Department hotline at 973-321-1277 x 2757 and leave a message. Health officials will reach out to them once vaccines are available.
“Brothers Produce will continue to fully cooperate with health officials to assure that we take any and all steps necessary to keep our customers and employees safe,” ends the Gaber family statement.