Update 11/6/19 2 p.m.: ShopRite says they are offering refunds of deli meats sold at the location.
SOMERVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There is a hepatitis A warning in New Jersey after a store worker at a supermarket tested positive for the virus.
Now furious customers are being asked to trash some of the groceries they recently purchased our of concern they may have been contaminated, CBS2’s Charlie Cooper reported Tuesday.
Cooper spoke with some people who say they want them to compensate them in return.
Hepatitis A is spread when an infected person doesn’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom and then touches food that’s eaten by someone else. Health officials said that’s exactly what happened at a ShopRite in Somerville, when a deli worker came into work for two weeks with the disease.
“I buy lunch meat here all the time. I know I’m in that group who bought it and ate it,” said customer Paul Cichello.
That same group of people are now being told to trash all store items bought between Oct. 13 through the 30th. It’s when the Health Department says the disease was most likely spread.
“I bought deli meat. I bought from the appetizing bar where they have olives,” customer Janet McCormick said.
“I don’t know if it’s a symptom, but lately I’ve been feeling really tired and kind of bloated,” said customer Paul Leporiere.
Hep A symptoms range from fever, diarrhea and stomach pain to poor appetite, vomiting and yellow skin or eyes. those who used the bathroom or bought food from the deli in late October are encouraged to get vaccinated.
“I’m 65. My insurance company will not pay for the shot because I’m 65. You have to be 64 and under to get the hepatitis A shot,” customer Janet McCormick said. “I went into ShopRite and said, ‘The shot is $127. I’m not paying $127 out of my pocket for your mistake.’ They said they won’t do anything about it.”
What they say they have done is deep cleaned the store and removed all deli items the sick employee may touched. And there’s no word on the status of that worker.
“I feel bad for the meployees because they’re all worried and they’re all making them get shots today,” said Leporiere.
Some customers say they should do more.
“I think they should be giving out free shots at their pharmacy. That’s what I think. It’s not my mistake that I ate here. I spend a lot of money here at ShopRite,” McCormick said.
“They don’t offer you anything in return. I spent like $15 on cold cuts. They don’t offer you anything to make up for that,” Cichello said.
“I hope they clear it up. That’s what I hope,” customer Paul Goodheart said.
“Will you be buying your cold cuts here again?” Cooper asked Cichello.
“Yes. That’s not going to make a diffrence. You can get hepatitis anywhere, anytime,” he said.
A statement issued by the store reads, “At this time, no additional illnesses have been reported and the risk of exposure and infection is low. This is an isolated incident at one store.”
If you believe you’ve been exposed to hepatitis A at ShopRite you’re encouraged to consult your healthcare provider.
The Somerset County Department of Health will host a special walk-in clinic to provide free hepatitis A vaccinations. It will be held at the county Human Services building on Warren Street in Somerville tomorrow and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.
For more information, call the Somerset County Department of Health hepatitis A hotline at 908-203-6014. For directions, click here.