Organic Strawberries Linked to Hepatitis Cases, FDA Warns

TUESDAY, May 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Fresh, organic strawberries may be linked to a hepatitis A outbreak that's affected 17 people in three states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.

The 15 cases in California, and single cases in both Minnesota and North Dakota, have been connected with FreshKampo or HEB brand organic strawberries, according to a news release from the FDA. Cases have also been reported in Canada.

The last known case in the United States was reported on April 30, the agency said. No deaths have been reported.

The potentially affected strawberries were sold across the United States at a number of stores, including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods.

Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not sell, serve or eat any fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB that were bought between March 5 and April 25, 2022, the FDA said.

Those strawberries are now past their shelf life, but people who bought the strawberries and froze them for later use should not eat them, the agency warned.

If you are unsure of what brand of strawberries you bought, or when or where you bought them before freezing them, throw them away, the FDA advised.

If you bought the potentially affected strawberries, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, you should immediately talk with a health care provider to determine whether you require post-exposure vaccination, the FDA said.

Post-exposure vaccination is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the previous two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days of exposure. People who have had a previous hepatitis A vaccination or a previous case of hepatitis A infection do not require post-exposure vaccination.

The FDA also said you should contact your health care provider if you think you may have symptoms of a hepatitis A infection after eating the potentially affected strawberries, or if you believe you have eaten these strawberries in the last two weeks.

The FDA is investigating the outbreak along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local partners, and the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

More information

There's more on hepatitis A at the American Academy of Family Physicians.


SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, news release, May 28, 2022

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