Hepatitis Outbreak Spurs Recall of Frozen Strawberries Sold at Costco, Trader Joe's, Aldi

MONDAY, March 20, 2023 (HealthDay News) – Frozen organic strawberries packaged under a variety of names and sold at stores including Costco, Trader Joe’s and Aldi have been recalled as part of a hepatitis A outbreak investigation.

In a notice filed Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned against eating, selling or serving certain frozen organic strawberries packaged by Scenic Fruit of Gresham, Ore.

The recall also includes strawberries packaged by California Splendor of San Diego and sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and to two San Diego business centers.

The companies share a common supplier, farms located in Baja California, Mexico.

To see if you have purchased a recalled item, see the full list of recalled products.

Both companies have issued voluntary recalls. The FDA is continuing to work with the businesses to identify other stores where the products may have been sold.

The recalled products should be returned or thrown away, the FDA said.

Customers who consumed the strawberries over the last two weeks and who haven't been vaccinated against hepatitis A should immediately consult with their doctor to determine whether what's known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed. This is recommended for unvaccinated people who've been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because it can prevent a hepatitis A virus infection if given within 14 days of exposure.

Those who have had a previous infection with hepatitis A or a vaccination will not need this.

Five of the five people who have become ill in the outbreak reported eating the frozen organic strawberries. The berries were imported from the Mexican farms in 2022. Two of the people sickened were hospitalized. All the confirmed and probable cases were in Washington state.

The strain of hepatitis A virus causing illnesses this year is genetically identical to that causing another outbreak of infections in 2022. It was linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico, and sold at various retailers.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine and pale stool. Illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days. Sometimes people with hepatitis A, especially children under the age of 6, can be asymptomatic.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hepatitis A.


SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, recall notice, March 17, 2023

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