Urgent Warning Issued Over Grocery Stores Selling Produce That May Be Contaminated With Human Waste

Health officials are urging consumers to be extra vigilant with their produce purchases. On Oct. 3, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) issued a concerning consumer advisory concerning the Kuntry Gardens after it was found that produce and other products containing produce from the Homer, Michigan-based company may be contaminated with human waste.

The advisory notice was issued after one of MDARD's routine produce safety inspections found Kuntry Gardens was "using raw, untreated human waste on the fields where produce was grown for sale to local grocery stores and direct sale." The use of raw, untreated, human waste for growing commodities intended for human food "is a violation of the Michigan Food Law, PA 92 of 2000, as well as other state and federal laws and regulations," MDARD explained, adding that it has since "placed impacted product still on the farm under seizure and is working with the farm to oversee disposition and corrective action."

At this time, a recall has not been issued, but MDARD said consumers should not eat any Kuntry Gardens produce or products containing produce. The affected products were sold at several locations across Michigan including: Kuntry Gardens, 29910 R Dr South, Homer; Simply Fresh Market, 7300 Grand River Rd, Brighton; White Lotus, 7217 W Liberty Rd, Ann Arbor; Argus Farm Stop, 325 W Liberty Street, Ann Arbor; Agricole Farm Stop, 118 N Main Street, Chelsea; Pure Pastures, 1192 Ann Arbor Rd, Plymouth; Ypsi Coop, 312 North River Street, Ypsilanti; Greener Pastures Market, 21202 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon; Holiday Market, 520 S Lilley Rd, Canton; Cherry Capitol, Traverse City; and Busch's Fresh Food Market stores located in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Clinton, Dexter, Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Pinckney, Plymouth-Northville, Rochester Hills, Saline, South Lyon, Tecumseh, and West Bloomfield. The MDARD said that Kuntry Gardens products, all of which are "expected to be labeled under the name Kuntry Gardens," may have been sold at additional locations as well.

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Consumers who purchased Kuntry Gardens produce products should contact the farm or facility where the product was purchased for instruction on disposal and refund. The MDARD explained that consumption of the products poses potentially severe health risks, as human waste and other body fluids that are not treated professionally can spread dangerous infectious diseases such as hepatitis A, Clostridium difficile, E coli, rotavirus, and norovirus. While no illnesses have been reported at this time, the agency advised anyone experiencing "nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), fever, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, weakness, headache, or other symptoms of foodborne illness" seek medical advice.