May 31, 2022 – An outbreak of hepatitis A in the U.S. and Canada could be linked to fresh organic strawberries, according to an FDA alert.

So far, 17 cases have been identified in the U.S., with 15 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota. Canada has identified 10 cases, with six in Saskatchewan and four in Alberta.

Among the U.S. cases, 12 people have been hospitalized, and no one has died. In Canada, four people have been hospitalized, and no one has died, according to a public health notice from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The strawberries were sold under the FreshKampo and H-E-B brands between March 5 and April 25. The brands were sold at several retail stores, including Aldi, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods.

The potentially affected products are now past shelf life, the FDA said. But if consumers or restaurants still have them or froze them, the strawberries should go in the trash.

“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,” it said.

Those who ate the strawberries in the last 2 weeks and haven’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A should talk to a doctor right away to find out whether you should still get a vaccine, the agency said.

Vaccination “can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days of exposure,” the FDA said.

Consumers should also contact a doctor if they’ve eaten the strawberries and have symptoms of hepatitis A, which include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, diarrhea, dark urine, jaundice, joint pain, fatigue, and nausea.

Hepatitis A symptoms typically appear 2 to 7 weeks after infection and last less than 2 months, although some people can be sick for up to 6 months, according to the CDC. Not everyone gets symptoms, and adults are more likely than children to show symptoms.

On Sunday, H-E-B said that all strawberries sold in its stores are safe, according to a statement posted on its website.

“No illnesses from strawberries related to the FDA investigation have been reported at H-E-B or in Texas,” the company said. “H-E-B has not received or sold organic strawberries from the supplier under investigation since April 16.”

The FDA said that its investigation is ongoing and that more products may be included later in an advisory update.

Show Sources

FDA: “Outbreak Investigation of Hepatitis A Virus: Strawberries (May 2022).”

Public Health Agency of Canada: “Public Health Notice: Outbreak of hepatitis A infections linked to imported fresh organic strawberries.”

CDC: “Hepatitis A Questions and Answers for the Public.”

H-E-B: “Strawberries sold at H-E-B are safe to consume.”

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