The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Canadian state, and US partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A in the U.S. & Canada potentially linked to fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo & HEB, purchased between March 5 & April 25.
Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver infection, according to the CDC. It is a contagious illness and symptoms of it – such as fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice – can last up to two months. In rare cases, the FDA said it can result in liver failure and death.
The “multistate outbreak” has been potentially linked to organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB, the FDA said. The outbreak is also being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
The FreshKampo and HEB-branded fresh organic strawberries were sold at several retailers nationwide, including Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods.
The affected strawberries were purchased from March 5-April 25, past shelf life. However, consumers who bought the berries and froze them to later consume them are advised to dispose of them immediately.
“If you are unsure of what brand you purchased when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away,” the FDA said.
The FDA said 17 Hepatitis A cases have been reported as part of the outbreak, 12 of which were hospitalizations. There are 15 cases in California, one in Minnesota and one in North Dakota.
If consumers purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed.
PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection does not require PEP.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have symptoms of a hepatitis A infection after eating these fresh organic strawberries, or if you believe that you have eaten these strawberries in the last two weeks.