Frozen Strawberries Recalled After Hepatitis A Infections

A voluntary recall of frozen strawberries has been expanded as the Food and Drug Administration has linked more retailers to a string of nine hepatitis A cases that date back to last year.

On Monday, the Willamette Valley Fruit Company of Salem, Ore., announced the recall of frozen strawberries that are sold at Walmart, Costco, and HEB stores under the brand names Great Value at Walmart and Rader Farms Organic at Costco and HEB.

Starting in November, nine people have been sickened in Washington State, California and Oregon, and three people have been hospitalized. The last known cases began in April, the F.D.A. said.
“Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat recalled frozen strawberries,” the F.D.A. said Tuesday. “These recalled products should be thrown away.”

The F.D.A. notes that the products are sold nationwide and have a long shelf life and urges consumers to check their freezers and dispose of any they find.

The affected products have so-called “best by” dates — the latest time they’re recommended for use — that range from Sept. 23, 2023 to Nov. 20, 2024. Specific best-by dates and lot codes identifying batches of affected products can be found at fda.gov.

The F.D.A. investigation has traced hepatitis A infections to frozen organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico, and reported the first five cases of hepatitis A linked to them in March. The strain of hepatitis A in those cases was genetically identical to one that caused an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in 2022, which was also linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico.

In March, Wawona Frozen Foods, California Splendor and Scenic Fruit voluntarily recalled frozen strawberries that they sold under the brands Wawona, Kirkland Signature, Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Made With, PCC Community Markets and Trader Joe’s. They were sold at Costco, Aldi, Meijer and other retailers.

The F.D.A. said that people usually get sick from hepatitis A within 15 to 50 days after eating contaminated food. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine and pale stool.

The Centers for Disease Control urged people who believe they have eaten these recalled frozen organic strawberries within the past two weeks and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A to contact their health care provider. Preventive treatment, even after exposure, may help avoid illness.


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