Frozen strawberries recalled due to hepatitis A risk

Frozen organic strawberries sold at Costco, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and other retailers have been recalled after the products were linked to five cases of hepatitis A in Washington state, the Food and Drug Administration announced.

The administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with state and local agencies, are investigating the cases, which included two people hospitalized.

“Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not sell, serve or eat the recalled frozen strawberries,” the FDA said in a statement. “These recalled products should be returned or discarded.”

Investigators found that five people who became ill and provided information about what they ate all said they had eaten strawberries, the FDA said.

The hepatitis A strain is genetically identical to a strain that caused an outbreak of hepatitis A in 2022, which was linked to fresh organic strawberries also imported from Baja California, Mexico.

The two sellers in the latest cases, California Splendor and Scenic Fruit, sold the frozen strawberries to an array of retailers under multiple brands, including Kirkland Signature, Made With, PCC Community Markets, Simply Nature, Trader Joe’s and Vital Choice, the FDA . said.

“Although hepatitis A has not been detected in this product, as a precaution, consumers should stop consuming the product and return it to their local store for a refund,” Scenic Fruit said in a statement.

Scenic Fruit said it has ceased production and distribution of the product as the FDA and the company investigate.

California Splendor, whose products were sold at Costco stores in Hawaii, Los Angeles and two business centers in San Diego, said in a statement that hepatitis A was not detected in its products.

Costco said hepatitis A was not detected in the products it sold, but added that consumers should return them for a full refund. Aldi said it has not reported any illnesses linked to the recalled products.

Trader Joe’s recalled its organic tropical fruit mix, which included frozen strawberries as well as frozen bananas, pineapples and mangoes, but not its organic strawberries as an individual product.

“No illnesses have been reported to date, and all potentially affected products have been removed from sale and destroyed,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement. “If you purchased an organic tropical fruit mix, please do not eat it. We urge you to discard the product or return it to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund.

Hepatitis A attacks the liver. Infection usually occurs within 15 to 50 days of ingesting contaminated food or water, and symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and pale stools.

“If consumers have purchased the recalled frozen organic strawberries and have eaten these berries within the past two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult their healthcare practitioner to determine if prophylaxis post-exposure (PEP) is required,” the FDA said.


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