The Food and Drug Administration has initiated traceback efforts related to fresh organic strawberries associated with outbreaks of hepatitis A in the United States and Canada.
These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB by a common supplier. They were for sale between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.
However, the FDA is urging consumers who bought the strawberries and froze them for later use to throw them away. Freezing does not kill the hepatitis A virus.
As of this week the FDA is reporting 17 confirmed illnesses — 15 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota — and 12 hospitalizations in the United States. In Canada, 10 patients have been identified with four of them requiring hospitalization.
The strawberries were sold at the following retailers, including, but not limited to:
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Trader Joe’s
- Weis Markets
- WinCo Foods
- Canadian Co-op
Anyone who ate any of the strawberries should monitor themselves in the coming weeks for symptoms of hepatitis A because it can take up to 50 days to become sick. Symptoms typically begin about 28 days after infection but can begin as early as 15 days or as late as 50 days after exposure. Symptoms may include headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, joint pain, dark urine, clay colored bowel movements, and fever. Jaundice, a yellowish discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes, occurs in most cases. Hepatitis A may cause no symptoms at all when it is contracted, especially in children. Those infected usually recover fully within 2 to 6 months
Other outbreak investigations
In other outbreak news the FDA continues to investigate reports of “adverse events” in relation to a dry cereal that the FDA has said is Lucky Charms made by General Mills. The patient count has increased to 558, up by three from a week ago. The FDA has begun an on-site inspection and sample testing but has not released any other details about the investigation.
An investigation into an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections from an unknown source continues with the patient count holding steady at 19. The FDA began the investigation on Feb. 13 and has initiated traceback efforts but has not reported what is being traced. The agency has not released any other details about the situation.
Additional outbreak information
The table below shows information about outbreak investigations being managed by FDA’s CORE Response Teams. The investigations are in a variety of stages. Some outbreaks have limited information with active investigations ongoing, others may be near completion. The table below has been abbreviated to show only active investigations.
A public health advisory will be issued for investigations that have resulted in specific, actionable steps for consumers to take to protect themselves, according to the FDA. Please direct your attention to those pages for the most up to date information on the investigation and for consumer protection information.
Outbreak and adverse event investigations that do not result in specific, actionable steps for consumers may or may not conclusively identify a source or reveal any contributing factors. Adverse event investigations rely on self-reported data. Although these reports may name a particular product, FDA will only indicate a product category in the table and will not publicly name a specific product until there is sufficient evidence to implicate that product as a cause of illnesses or adverse events. If a cause and/or contributing factors are identified that could inform future prevention, FDA commits to providing a summary of those findings.
To view the FDA page with links to specific information on individual outbreaks, please click here.
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