Frozen organic strawberries have been recalled by a Gresham, Oregon company called Scenic Fruit Company due to potential Hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination. The potentially contaminated frozen strawberries were sold to several companies, including Aldi, Costco, KeHe, PCC Community Markets, Vital Choice Seafood, and frozen organic tropical blend sold to Trader Joe’s nationwide.
California Splendor, Inc. of San Diego, California, has also issued a recall on Kirkland Signature brand Frozen Organic Strawberries product.
Investigators believe the frozen organic strawberries are likely responsible for a Hepatitis A outbreak in Washington States which has identified (so far) 5 confirmed illnesses and 2 additional probable cases. These particular frozen organic strawberries were all imported from a common supplier in Baja California, Mexico. There have been a slew of Hepatitis A outbreaks linked berries in recent years, with numerous berry or strawberry Hepatitis A lawsuits being filed in the aftermath of each. According to one Hepatitis A lawyer, Ron Simon, “Hepatitis is something most young people no longer get, having been vaccinated. But the elderly and may immigrants are still very susceptible to this illness. Also, getting vaccinated within 15 days of exposure can often prevent the onset of illness.”
Evidence suggests the outbreak may be linked to another May 2022 Hepatitis A Strawberry Outbreak, as the strawberries were also imported from Baja California, Mexico.
The organic frozen strawberries were sold nationwide and the full list of recalled products can be found here.
Because the product was sold frozen, customers may still have the product in their freezers. Consumers are urged to check their freezers for the potentially contaminated products and encouraged to dispose of the strawberries immediately or return the product to the store of purchase for a full refund. Consumers concerned with a hepatitis A infection should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis A (HAV) is a highly contagious virus that can lead to a short-term liver infection. Fortunately, HAV is vaccine preventable; the first hepatitis A vaccine was made available to the public in 1996, which led to a rapid decline of HAV cases in the United States. Symptoms of HAV typically develop 2-7 weeks after becoming infected, although not everyone infected with HAV develops symptoms. Customarily, symptoms of HAV include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, exhaustion, jaundice, dark urine or light-colored stool, and joint pain. These symptoms typically last less 2 months, however, in some cases, symptoms can last for 6 or more months.
The hepatitis A virus survives in the blood and stool of an infected person and is transmitted through ingestion of infected blood or stool particles. Exposure can occur through close person-to-person contact and through eating contaminated foods or beverages. People with lowered immune systems, chronic liver disease, and adults 65 and older should contact their healthcare provider if they believe they are suffering from a hepatitis A infection to avoid further complications.