Packs of strawberries from FreshKampo and HEB are likely linked to more than a dozen recent cases of hepatitis A in California, federal food regulators said.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and government and local partners, are investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A infections in the United States and
Canada is potentially associated with fresh, organic strawberries with the FreshKampo or HEB brands and purchased between March 5, 2022 and April 25, 2022.
“If you are unsure of which brand you bought, when you bought your strawberries or where you bought them from before freezing them, the strawberries should be discarded,”[ads1]; the FDA said in a warning.
The strawberries were also sold at HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers, Trader Joe’s, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods, according to regulators. The FDA has received reports of 17 hepatitis A cases in the United States since the strawberries hit store shelves, and a dozen people have been hospitalized. Most cases have been in California, but the FDA also reported one case in both Minnesota and North Dakota.
In Canada, 10 cases of hepatitis A and four hospitalizations have been reported related to the strawberries, according to The Associated Press.
No deaths have been reported, according to the agency. It said the strawberries being examined “are a probable cause of disease in this outbreak.” The FDA’s investigation is ongoing, so other products may be linked to hepatitis cases.
HEB said that they have not received or sold the strawberries that have been examined since 16 April. The Texas-based merchant claimed that their strawberries are safe, but said customers should throw away all organic strawberries purchased between March 5 and April 25.
“No strawberry diseases related to the FDA investigation have been reported at HEB or in Texas,” the company said in a statement Sunday.
FreshKampo is a Mexico-based grower and distributor of fruits and vegetables. The company could not be reached for comment Monday.
Hepatitis A is a contagious but treatable virus that infects the liver and causes it to swell and malfunction. Most people catch the virus from contaminated food or water.
Anyone who has already eaten the harmful strawberries should immediately consult a doctor and ask for a hepatitis vaccine, the FDA said.