Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Strawberries

From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 4, 2016 -- An outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to frozen strawberries is being investigated by U.S. health officials.

As of Oct. 20, 134 people in nine states had become ill due to the frozen strawberries and strawberry products recalled by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP), according to the Food and Drug Administration.

On Oct. 25, ICAPP recalled all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products it had imported into the United States since January 1, 2016, including whole, sliced and sugared, and diced frozen strawberries.

Five companies in the U.S. received the recalled products: C.H. Belt of Lake Forest, Ca. (sold under CH World Brand); Jetro/Restaurant Depot of College Point, N.Y. (sold under James Farm brand and unbranded "Bits & Pieces"); Sysco Corporation of Houston, Tex. (sold under Sysco brand); Patagonia Foods of San Luis Obispo, Ca. (sold under Patagonia brand); Reddy Raw of Woodridge, N.J. (sold under Regal brand).

The FDA said it is working with these companies to identify institutions and food service operations that received the recalled products from them.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus. Severity can range from mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months, the FDA said.

Illness occurs 15 to 50 days after consuming contaminated food or drink, and symptoms in adults include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

In rare cases, particularly in people with pre-existing severe illness or weakened immune systems, hepatitis A infections can lead to liver failure and death.

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