Nationwide Recall Issued for Frozen Strawberries at Major Retailers Following Hepatitis A Outbreak
Last updated 3/20/2023 at 12:24pm
A nationwide recall was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 17. The recall affects frozen strawberries that are potentially linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak and have been sold across various retailers.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), a possible link was established after five cases related to an outbreak of Hepatitis A have been reported since March 13. In all cases, the affected individuals reportedly consumed frozen organic strawberries.
The reports of illnesses range from Nov. 24, 2022, to Dec. 17, 2022. Although no deaths have been reported, two people were hospitalized, according to the CDC.
The affected strawberries were distributed by California Splendor and Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Oregon, under various brand names in stores, including Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, and PCC Community Markets. A tropical fruit blend sold at Trader Joe's is also subject to the recall.
Although the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) has not been detected on the products, the company and the FDA issued the recall as a precautionary measure following the reports to the CDC. Scenic Fruit Company and the FDA have cautioned consumers not to eat the strawberries if they have them in their freezer.
"Although Hepatitis A has not been detected on this product, out of an abundance of caution, consumers should stop consuming the product and return it to their local store for a refund. The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem," the FDA stated on its website. California Splendor and some of the other associated retailers also issued statements (pdf).
"California Splendor, Inc., in cooperation with the FDA, is voluntarily recalling select lot codes of this product due to an outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses. Although Hepatitis A has not been detected in this product, out of an abundance of caution, consumers should stop consuming the food and return it to their local Costco for a full refund."
"According to the latest information we have, there are no reported illnesses related to the recalled product. No other ALDI products are affected by this recall (pdf)."
"No illnesses have been reported to date, and all potentially affected product has been removed from sale and destroyed. If you purchased any Organic Tropical Fruit Blend, please do not eat it. We urge you to discard the product or return it to any Trader Joe's for a full refund," Trader Joe's posted.
An investigation into the cause of the outbreak and how it could have contaminated the affected products is underway.
According to the FDA, the current outbreak may be linked to a previous recall by California Splendor in February. The company voluntarily recalled specific packs of 4-pound bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Hawaii.
The possible link was established as the current strain of Hepatitis and the previous strain are genetically identical, making the previously imported strawberries a likely source.
The expiry dates of the affected strawberries range from April 25, 2024, to Nov. 20, 2024, and were across multiple states:
Simply Nature Organic Strawberries: 24 oz. size; UPC: 4099100256222; Best by date: 6/14/2024. Sold in Aldi stores in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Vital Choice Organic Strawberries: 16 oz. size; UPC: 834297005024; Best by date: 5/20/2024. Sold in Washington.
Kirkland Signature Organic Strawberries: 4 lbs. size; UPC: 96619140404; Best by date:10/8/2024. They were sold in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Made With Organic Strawberries: 10 oz. size; UPC: 814343021390; Best by date: 11/20/2024. Sold in Illinois and Maryland.
PCC Community Markets Organic Strawberries: 32 oz. size; UPC: 22827109469; Best by date: 10/29/2024. Sold in Washington.
Trader Joe's Organic Tropical Fruit Blend Pineapple, Bananas, Strawberries & Mango: 16 oz. size; UPC: 00511919; Best by dates: 04/25/24, 05/12/24, 05/23/24, 05/30/24, 06/07/24. Sold nationwide.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms can range from short-term and mild to severe, lasting several months. In some rare cases, those with pre-existing conditions or who are immune-compromised could experience liver failure.
According to the FDA, infection typically occurs within 15 to 50 days of ingesting contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and pale stool.
Consumers may contact Scenic Fruit via email at [email protected] with any questions.
From NTD News.