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UPDATE: Hepatitis A illnesses prompt recall of frozen strawberries

Update: The back of the Montana brand frozen strawberries packaging states the berries are from Egypt.

Montana brand frozen strawberries are being pulled from Canadian stores because of possible hepatitis A contamination.

This recall was triggered by findings during an investigation into a foodborne illness outbreak. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products. CFIA will notify the public if other high-risk products are recalled.

The recalled frozen strawberries were being sold in all Marché Adonis locations across Quebec and Ontario up until April 14. The recalled strawberries were sold frozen, in 1-kilogram bags, under the Montana brand with the UPC number 6222000401487.

Consumers can return the berries to their point of purchase or throw them out.

Quebec’s Ministry of Agriculture (MAPAQ) is warning that the tainted berries may not look or smell contaminated and that consuming the berries raw could lead to illness. The hepatitis A virus easily survives freezing, but becomes inactive with cooking, according to the MAPAQ.

Anyone who has eaten or handled any of the recalled strawberries and developed symptoms of hepatitis A infection should seek medical attention and the their doctors about the possible exposure to the virus. Also, people who ate the strawberries are encouraged to monitor themselves for the coming weeks because it can take up to 50 days after exposure for symptoms to develop.

Hepatitis A symptoms can include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort. Infection with hepatitis A can also cause jaundice — a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, as well as dark urine and pale stools.

CFIA says the symptoms can show up between two to seven weeks after contamination, but that hepatitis A generally clears up by itself within a week or two, although in some individuals it can persist for up to six months.

MAPAQ is recommending that people who are not vaccinated against hepatitis A and who consumed the recalled berries within the last 14 days consult a medical professional.

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