Another patient has been identified in an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A infections traced to frozen organic strawberries.
As of its update posted July 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 10 people from four states have been infected. Four people have been hospitalized. The states where the sick people reside are Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii.
The hepatitis A virus strain causing illnesses in this outbreak is genetically identical to the strain that caused a foodborne hepatitis A outbreak in 2022, which was linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico, and sold at various retailers.
Illness onset dates in the current outbreak range from Nov. 24, 2022, through June 4, 2023. Additional patients are likely unidentified because many people fail to seek medical attention despite the long lasting symptoms of hepatitis A infection.
Also, it can take from 14 to 50 days for symptoms to develop, making it difficult to determine how patients became infected.
However, in interviews with the 10 patients in this outbreak, all 10 reported eating frozen strawberries two to seven weeks before becoming ill. All of the implicated strawberries came from Baja California, Mexico, and are from a common supplier, according to investigators with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.
Several recalls have been initiated, but the long life of frozen berries suggests that some of the recalled products are likely still in consumers’ homes. Traceback and epidemiological investigations show that people with outbreak-associated cases purchased the same retail brand of frozen organic strawberries prior to becoming ill.
In response to this investigation, California Splendor, Inc. of San Diego, CA, certain lots of 4-lb. bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries that were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, California; Hawaii; and two San Diego, California business centers. The lots subject to this recall include: 140962-08, 142222-23, 142792-54, 142862-57, 142912-59, 142162-20, 142202-21, 142782-53, 142852-56, 142902-58, 142212-22, 142232-24, 142842-55.
In response to this investigation, Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, OR, frozen organic strawberries, sold to Costco, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, and PCC Community Markets in certain states. Products subject to this recall include:
|Brand Name||Product Name||Net Wt.||UPC||Best By Date, Best If Use Date, Best Before Date||Distributed in States|
|Simply Nature||Organic Strawberries||24 oz.||40991002|
|6/14/2024||Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin|
|Vital Choice||Organic Strawberries||16 oz.||8342970|
|Kirkland Signature||Organic Strawberries||4 lbs.||966191|
|10/8/2024||Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington|
|Made With||Organic Strawberries||10 oz.||8143430|
|PCC Community Markets||Organic Strawberries||32 oz.||228271|
|Trader Joe’s||Organic Tropical Fruit Blend Pineapple, Bananas, Strawberries & Mango||16 oz.||511919||04/25/24, 05/12/24, 05/23/24, 05/30/24, 06/07/24||Nationwide|
On March 17, 2023, a retailer, Meijer, also issued press for Made-With brand frozen organic strawberries from certain market store locations.
In response to this investigation, on June 7, 2023, Wawona Frozen Foods of Clovis, California, initiated a of year-old packages of Wawona brand Organic DayBreak Blend 4-lb. bags that were distributed to Costco Wholesale stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, and Washington from April 15, 2022, to June 26, 2022, with “Use By” dates of 9/23/2023, 9/29/2023, 9/30/2023, and 10/18/2023:
Table depicts voluntary recall of year-old packages of Wawona brand Organic DayBreak Blend 4-lb. bags that were distributed to Costco Wholesale stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, and Washington from April 15, 2022, to June 26, 2022, with “Use By” dates of 9/23/2023, 9/29/2023, 9/30/2023, and 10/18/2023.
|Best If Used By 09/23/2023||Best If Used By 09/29/2023||Best If Used By 09/30/2023||Best If Used By 10/18/2023|
|Affected Lot Codes:||Affected Lot Codes:||Affected Lot Codes:||Affected Lot Codes:|
In response to this investigation, on June 12, 2023, Willamette Valley Fruit Co. of Salem, Oregon, select packages of frozen fruit containing strawberries distributed to the following retailers: Walmart (from January 24, 2023, to June 8, 2023), Costco Wholesale Stores (from October 3, 2022, to June 8, 2023), and HEB (from July 18, 2022, to June 8, 2023). Products subject to this recall include:
|Retailer||Product Name||Net weight||Lot Code||Best By Date||Distributed in States|
|Walmart||Great Value Sliced Strawberries||4 lbs.||4018305 4019305||7/19/2024 7/20/2024||AR, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SD, TX, UT, VA, WI, WV, WY|
|Great Value Mixed Fruit||4 lbs.||4024205 4025305 4032305 4033305 4034305 4035305||7/25/2024 7/26/2024 8/2/2024 8/3/2024 8/4/2024 8/5/2024|
|Great Value Antioxidant Fruit Blend||40 oz.||4032305||8/2/2024|
|Costco Wholesale||Rader Farms Fresh Start Smoothie Blend||48 oz. bag containing six 8 oz. pouches||4224202 4313202 4314202 4363202 4364202 4017302 4018302 4042306 4043306 4060306||2/11/2024 5/10/2024 5/11/2024 6/29/2024 6/30/2024 7/18/2024 7/19/2024 8/12/2024 8/13/2024 8/30/2024||AZ, CA, CO, TX|
|HEB||Rader Farms Organic Berry Trio||3 lbs.||4153205 4283202 4284202 4058302 4059302||12/02/2023 4/10/2024 4/11/2024 8/28/2024 8/29/2024||TX|
FDA’s investigation is ongoing; additional products might be included in the future.
About hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable, liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV).
Not everyone with hepatitis A has symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms develop, they usually appear two to seven weeks, at an average of 28-30 days, after infection. Symptoms usually last less than two months, although some people can be ill for as long as six months.
If symptoms develop, they can include yellow skin or eyes, not wanting to eat, upset stomach throwing up, stomach pain, fever, dark urine or light-colored stools, diarrhea, joint pain, feeling tired.
Even if no symptoms are present people can still spread the infection. In addition, a person can transmit hepatitis A to others up to two weeks before symptoms appear.
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