Five people have been sickened in the outbreak, the FDA said.
The hepatitis A outbreak may be linked to certain brands of frozen organic strawberries sold nationwide at retailers such as Trader Joe’s and Costco, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which announced a recall of the products this week.
Five people have been diagnosed with confirmed or probable cases, two of whom are hospitalized, the FDA said Friday. Three confirmed and two probable cases were reported in Washington state.
In all cases, people reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had eaten frozen organic strawberries imported last year from farms in Baja California, Mexico, and sold to various retailers under various brand names. .
“Furthermore, the strain of hepatitis A virus causing illness this year is genetically identical to the strain that caused the 2022 outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections that was linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico and sold at various retail stores,” the FDA said.
In response to the ongoing investigation, California Splendor and Scenic Fruit have voluntarily recalled certain frozen strawberries this week, the FDA said.
California Splendor has recalled a 4-lb. bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries, which were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles and Hawaii and two San Diego business centers.
Scenic Fruit has recalled certain frozen organic strawberries sold to Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets in certain states, as well as frozen organic strawberries sold to Trader Joe’s nationwide.
You can find information about the products affected by both recalls here.
Both companies noted in their recall notices that hepatitis A has not been detected in the products, but “out of an abundance of caution” consumers should stop consuming the recalled products and return them to their local store for a refund. The companies announced that they had stopped production and distribution of the affected products during the investigation of the outbreak.
“As this study is ongoing, other products may be included,” the FDA said.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Symptoms typically appear within 15 to 20 days of exposure after eating or drinking contaminated food or water and include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver test results, dark urine, and pale stools.
A serious illness can last from a few weeks to several months. In rare cases, hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure—those with a history of severe disease or who are immunocompromised are at greatest risk.
The FDA said that people who have consumed the recalled frozen organic strawberries in the past two weeks and who have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A or who believe they have symptoms of hepatitis A virus infection should contact a health care professional.