A recent outbreak of hepatitis A cases has been linked to strawberries sold at Kroger, Aldi, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and other major grocery store chains nationwide.
The affected strawberries were labeled as FreshKampo or HEB strawberries, and, while they are past shelf life, they should be thrown away if they’ve been frozen for later consumption, according to a statement from the FDA.
The strawberries that may be causing hepatitis A, a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, were sold between March 5 and April 25, the statement said; the most recent illness connected to the outbreak began April 30. Restaurants and retailers should throw out FreshKampo and HEB strawberries purchased between March 5 and April 25, per the statement.
The strawberries haven’t been definitively established as the cause of the outbreak, but the FDA’s statement said they are the “likely cause of illness.” Traceback data show that people with infections in California, Minnesota, and Canada had purchased the strawberries prior to illness. In addition to Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway, the following retailers sold the strawberries: Kroger, HEB, Sprouts Farmers Market, Aldi, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods.
“If you are unsure of what brand you purchased, when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away,” the FDA cautioned.
Hepatitis A is spread when a person comes in contact with an infected individual’s stool, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). This can occur when a person eats food prepared by an infected person who didn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, for instance, or eats foods rinsed with contaminated water. Illness caused by hepatitis A usually occurs anywhere from 15 to 50 days after coming into contact with contaminated foods, according to the FDA.
Seventeen hepatitis cases have been identified in California, Minnesota and North Dakota, which have led to 12 hospitalizations, FDA said. Traceback investigations show that cases in California, Minnesota and Canada reported having purchased the strawberries. More products may be included as the investigation is ongoing. People became ill between March 28 and April 30.
FDA also recommends that anyone who purchased and ate the strawberries in the last two weeks who hasn’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A should consult with a health care professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis is needed.
Anyone who has eaten either FreshKampo or HEB organic strawberries and develops symptoms of hepatitis A, the first thing they should do is