Fresh strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak, FDA says

Public health officials said they are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada that is potentially linke...


Public health officials said they are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada that is potentially linked to organic strawberries.

US health officials said the outbreak most likely originated from FreshKampo and HEB brand fresh organic strawberries that were purchased between March 5 and April 25.

The strawberries were sold at stores including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and Weis Markets, the Food and Drug Administration said.

The strawberries are now past their shelf life and people who bought them between March 5 and April 25 should throw them away, even if they froze them to eat later, health officials said.

In the USA, the FDA said it had identified 17 cases of hepatitis A linked to strawberries – 15 in California and one in Minnesota and North Dakota. Twelve people were hospitalized, the agency said.

In Canada, health officials said they had confirmed 10 cases — four in Alberta and six in Saskatchewan. Four people have been hospitalized in this country.

No strawberry-related deaths have been reported in the United States or Canada, according to officials in both countries.

Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that can cause liver disease. It can be transmitted when food is eaten after being handled by someone who has not followed good hand washing hygiene, the FDA said.

Symptoms typically develop 15 to 20 days after eating the contaminated food and may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine and pale stools, the FDA said.

People who think they are infected or have eaten contaminated strawberries in the past two weeks should tell their health care provider, the FDA said.

In A declarationHEB, which is based in Texas, said it had not received or sold any organic strawberries from the supplier under investigation since April 16.

“All strawberries sold at HEB are safe,” the company said. “No strawberry illnesses related to the FDA investigation have been reported in HEB or Texas.”

FreshKampo said it no longer ships fresh organic strawberries linked to the outbreak. Those sold between March 5 and April 25 came in plastic clamshell packaging with a label that read “Distributed by Meridian Fruits,” the company said in a press release.

“FreshKampo wants consumers to know that it will continue to work with health officials and supply chain partners to determine where an issue may have arisen along the supply chain and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again,” the statement said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Fresh strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak, FDA says
Fresh strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak, FDA says
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