Frozen organic strawberries recalled due to possible link to hepatitis A outbreak

Five people became ill in the outbreak, the FDA said.

Mar 18, 2023 5:02pm ET

• 5 minutes reading time

A hepatitis A outbreak may be linked to certain brands of organic frozen strawberries sold at retailers nationwide, including Trader Joe’s and Costco, according to the US Federal Drug Administration, which this week announced a product recall.

Five people have fallen ill in the outbreak with confirmed or probable cases, including two hospitalized, the FDA said Friday. Three confirmed and two probable cases have been reported in Washington state.

In all cases, individuals reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had eaten frozen organic strawberries, which were ultimately found to have been imported from farms in Baja California, Mexico, last year and shipped to a variety of retailers among several Brand names were sold .

“Furthermore, the hepatitis A virus strain that caused disease this year is genetically identical to the strain that caused the outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections in 2022, which has been linked to fresh organic strawberries that imported from Baja California, Mexico and sold at various retailers,” the FDA said.

In response to the ongoing investigation, California Splendor and Scenic Fruit voluntarily recalled certain lots of frozen strawberries this week, the FDA said.

California Splendor has recalled 4 pounds. Bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles and Hawaii and two business centers in San Diego.

The FDA has announced a recall of certain brands of organic frozen strawberries. FDA

Scenic Fruit has recalled certain organic frozen strawberries sold to Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets in certain states, and organic frozen tropical mixes sold to Trader Joe’s statewide.

Information on the products affected by both recalls can be found here.

The FDA has announced a recall of certain brands of organic frozen strawberries. FDA

Both companies noted in their recall announcements that hepatitis A was not detected on the products, but “out of caution” consumers should stop consuming the recalled items and return them to their local store for a refund. The companies said they had halted production and distribution of affected products while the outbreak was being investigated.

“As this investigation is ongoing, additional products may be included,” the FDA said.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms typically appear within 15 to 20 days of exposure after eating or drinking contaminated food or water and include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver function tests, dark urine, and light-colored stools.

The illness can last from a few weeks to several months if severe. In rare cases, hepatitis A infection can lead to liver failure – with those who have a pre-existing serious illness or are immunocompromised being most at risk.

People who have consumed the recalled organic frozen strawberries in the past two weeks and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or think they have symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection should contact a doctor, the FDA said.


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