An outbreak of hepatitis A infections in several U.S. states and Canada potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries from the FreshKampo and HEB brands is under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as health authorities in Canada.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, short-term liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, which is among the most common types of the illness.
The FDA stated on May 28: “Epidemiologic and traceback data show that fresh organic strawberries sold as FreshKampo and HEB brands that were purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, are a likely cause of illness in this outbreak.”
As of May 28, 17 cases had been reported in the U.S. (15 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota), and they resulted in 12 hospitalizations, according to the FDA.
The FDA investigation is ongoing and Americans are advised not to eat, serve or sell FreshKampo or HEB brand organic strawberries purchased between the aforementioned dates, the federal health body said.
While the potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are clearly past their shelf life, those who purchased the products between March 5 and April 25 and then froze the strawberries for later consumption should not eat them, the FDA added.
Below are some of the retailers where the potentially affected strawberries were sold:
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Trader Joe’s
- Weis Markets
- WinCo Foods
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Most hepatitis A infections are from unknown causes or from close contact with an infected individual. But some infections can be caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water, says the FDA.
Foodborne diseases caused by hepatitis A are not common in the U.S. However, fruit (berries) as well as water, shellfish, raw vegetables and salads are most frequently named as potential foodborne sources, says the FDA.
Symptoms of hepatitis A, which typically appear two to seven weeks following infection, can include the following, as outlined by the CDC.
- Yellow skin or eyes.
- Not wanting to eat.
- Upset stomach.
- Throwing up.
- Stomach pain.
- Dark urine or light-colored stool.
- Joint pain.
- Feeling tired.
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