FDA Says Strawberries Are Likely the Cause of Hepatitis A Outbreak
An investigation of 17 illnesses linked organic strawberries to the outbreak.
Organic strawberries are the likely source of a multi-state outbreak of hepatitis A in the US and Canada. This was revealed in an alert regarding the investigation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as two Canadian health agencies.
The organic strawberries in question were branded as FreshKampo and HEB, sold from March 5 to April 25 of this year at nine major grocery chains. The strawberries are past their shelf life, but the agencies issued an alert (not a recall) because of concerns that some people may have frozen the strawberries and still have them in the freezer.
Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods all sold the strawberries highlighted by the alert.
Many people who freeze strawberries might not have frozen them in the original packaging. Anyone unsure of the brand of strawberries sitting in their freezer should throw them out, the FDA advises.
The investigation from the FDA and CDC says FreshKampo and HEB strawberries are the "likely cause of illness in this outbreak." Illnesses have been reported in California, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada, with onset dates ranging from March 28 to April 30. The investigation found 17 illnesses in the US, with 12 of those requiring hospitalization.
Though the alert focuses on frozen strawberries, the FDA notice says "this investigation is ongoing, additional products may be included" at a later date. The notice also has recommendations for what consumers should do if they have eaten those strawberries within the last two weeks. Those instructions are detailed on the FDA website.