Hepatitis A Outbreak Potentially Linked to Strawberries Sold in the US and Canada
It's time to check your freezer.
After the recent Jif peanut butter recall that resulted in a recall of products made with Jif, we were hoping things would quiet down for a bit. Unfortunately, if you love to combine fruit or homemade jelly with your peanut butter, you may have cause for concern.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they’re investigating fresh strawberries in connection with an outbreak of hepatitis A. Here’s what you need to know.
What Caused the Investigation?
According to the announcement, the strawberries have potentially been linked to an outbreak of hepatitis A, a virus that can cause liver disease. The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, began the investigation after 17 people were diagnosed with the illness. 12 people are currently hospitalized. The outbreak includes several cases in California, as well as one in Minnesota and another in North Dakota.
The symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine and pale stool. Symptoms can set in anywhere from 15-50 days from exposure.
How Do I Know If I Bought an Affected Product?
The affected organic strawberries were sold under the brand names HEB and FreshKampo, between the dates March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. While the strawberries are past their shelf life, the FDA is worried that consumers may have frozen the strawberries for later use. We’re also urging people to think about homemade jams and any other items they may have used the strawberries in.
The affected strawberries were distributed nationwide, so it’s important to check your freezer even if you’re not living in a state affected by the outbreak. The stores distributing the fresh berries include but are not limited to:
- Sprouts Farmers Market
- Trader Joe’s
- Weis Markets
- WinCo Foods
Even if your berries aren’t affected, don’t make these mistakes with summer berries.
What Should I Do If I Bought an Affected Product?
If you bought potentially contaminated strawberries between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022 and then froze them, you should throw them away immediately. If you froze any strawberries during that period and don’t remember the brand, the FDA recommends discarding those as well.
And if you’ve already consumed the strawberries, and haven’t been vaccinated against hepatitis A, contact your healthcare provider to see if you need a hepatitis A vaccination. (This can prevent an infection.) If you already have symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.