FDA Is Investigating Hepatitis A Outbreak Potentially Linked To Fresh Strawberries
These strawberries were sold in Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, WinCo Foods, and Weis Markets.
If you’re excited about the return of strawberry season, you might want to proceed with caution. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A that is believed to be linked to the consumption of fresh strawberries.
On May 28, the FDA, along with state and local partners — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency — issued a warning about fresh strawberries sold between March 5 and April 25 in relation to an outbreak of hepatitis A.
These strawberries were sold in Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, WinCo Foods, and Weis Markets and branded as FreshKampo and H-E-B, according to the FDA.
“The fresh organic strawberries potentially affected are out-of-season and are no longer being shipped into the marketplace,” FreshKampo said in a statement. “The company is working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to gather information that will aid in its internal investigation to trace the product and determine where the problem may have occurred.” Texas-based H-E-B noted that it has not sold the strawberries included in the outbreak alert since April 16, and strawberries currently on the shelves are safe to eat.
The fresh organic strawberries have been linked to 17 cases of hepatitis A in California, Minnesota, and North Dakota, resulting in 12 hospitalizations. The FDA recommends that any “consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat any fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB if purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. People who purchased the fresh strawberries and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. They should be thrown away.”
The strawberries in question are past their shelf life, but should still not be consumed for fear of possible contamination even if frozen.
Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause vomiting, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, and jaundice. People with hepatitis A usually experience symptoms within 15 to 20 days of exposure, and in severe cases the virus can cause liver disease, cancer, or even liver failure and death in rare instances. Hepatitis A is also vaccine preventable, according to the CDC.
If you have strawberries in your freezer from FreshKampo or H-E-B, the best thing you can do is to throw them out and buy new ones. Don’t risk it.