Follow-Up Statement Regarding Hep A Case
Thursday, April 16, 2015 – In light of the incident that occurred at our juice bar beginning Saturday, April 11, we would like to offer a follow-up statement and further information.
First and foremost we are pleased to report that the employee received a healthy report from their family doctor, is feeling much better and will recover completely. They have the green light to return to work and we fully support this individual to return when they are ready.
On Saturday April 11 Toronto Public Health identified one individual who works at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market Juice Bar with Hepatitis A. It is a standard protocol by Toronto Public Health (TPH) to alert the employer and public who may have been exposed to the virus. On the same day TPH inspected the juice bar and sanitation practices and came to the conclusion that it was a very low risk situation, that the health and safety practices of the juice bar were in compliance and that the juice bar could remain open.
The individual likely contracted the condition while travelling outside the country. This is not a reflection on the sanitation practices of our business.
As indicated on the Hepatitis A fact sheet that we made available to all our staff and customers, a person with hepatitis A can pass the virus to others for 1 to 2 weeks before they start to show symptoms. People can remain infectious for up to 1 week after they get sick. In this situation our staff member was unaware that they were infected until symptoms started. Once off work it was established by their family doctor that this was a case of Hepatitis A and TPH protocols were put in motion.
Our strategy was to be open and honest about the situation with our staff and customers through the guidance of TPH. We spoke with every media outlet who wanted an interview and handled every e-mail, phone call and inquiry as quickly as possible. We posted notices at our juice bar and had our statement and links to TPH on our website by 6:00pm Saturday April 11.
As is common in situations like this there was plenty of misinformation and confusion particularly online and through social media but also some incorrect coverage by the media for which we followed up on and had corrected.
As you can imagine this was a stressful time for everyone involved. We are grateful for the health care system and protocols to handle these situations when they arise. We are also thankful for all those who were supportive, understanding and used the resources available to them through our communications and TPH to get informed.
If you need any further information Toronto Public Health is your best resource.
Saturday April 11, 2015
Toronto Public Health has identified one individual who works at The Big Carrot Natural Food Market Juice Bar with Hepatitis A.
The individual likely contracted the condition while travelling outside the country. They are recovering well and no longer infectious.
The Big Carrot is working closely with Toronto Public Health (TPH) to ensure that this incident is handled thoroughly. Informing the public is standard protocol by Toronto Public Health. This case was brought to our attention at approximately 3:00pm on Saturday April 11. TPH inspected the Juice Bar on Saturday April 11 and gave it the green light to stay open.
This appears to be an isolated circumstance and being considered low risk however anyone who frequented the Big Carrot Juice Bar between March 17 and April 2, 2015 needs to be aware.
Toronto Public Health is asking anyone who consumed fresh juice at the juice bar during these dates to monitor for signs and symptoms, practice thorough hand washing and contact their health care provider if concerned.
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
The hepatitis A vaccine is most effective when received within 14 days of exposure. Toronto Public Health held a free hepatitis A vaccine clinic from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 12 at the East York Civic Centre located at 850 Coxwell Avenue for anyone who consumed food or drinks at the Big Carrot organic juice bar during this time period. A second clinic was held on Monday April 13 at 150 Borough Dr. in Committee Room 2, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
If you were unable to make either of these clinics you can contact Public Health for details on how to arrange the vaccine through your family doctor.
Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7790,
or speak with your primary care provider as soon as possible. For further information on hepatitis A visit toronto.ca/health.