Organic Strawberries Implicated in Hepatitis A Outbreak

Multi-state outbreak is being investigated in US and Canada
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2022 12:23 AM CDT
Hepatitis A Outbreak Connected to Organic Strawberries
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / GCapture)

(Newser) – An outbreak of hepatitis A in the US and Canada has been potentially connected to organic strawberries. The FDA, the CDC, and two Canadian agencies are investigating two brands, FreshKampo and HEB, which were sold at stores across the US including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods, USA Today reports. They were sold between March 5 and April 25, and so are now past their shelf life, but consumers who may have frozen the berries for later use have been advised to throw them away. "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 says in a statement.

Cases of hepatitis A linked to the outbreak have been reported in California, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada, ABC News reports. At least 17 illnesses have been reported in the US so far, 12 of them requiring hospitalization, and all of them having purchased strawberries before getting sick. Symptoms of hepatitis A, which can lead to liver disease and, in rare cases, death, include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and pale stools. Most cases are mild and resolve within two weeks, but it can become chronic and symptoms can sometimes last up to two months. The vaccine-preventable illness can be spread through food if an infected person handled the food without using proper hygiene, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Read more hepatitis A stories.)

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