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Hepatitis A outbreak linked to organic strawberries sold at stores including Walmart is being probed by the FDA

May 30, 2022, 11:12 AM UTC

The Food and Drug Administration is investigating two brands of organic strawberries sold across major supermarket chains in the U.S. for a possible link to hepatitis A.

The potentially tainted strawberries were sold under the FreshKampo and H-E-B brands and so far have affected 17 people and hospitalized 12 across three states in the U.S. and in Canada, the FDA said in a statement.

“The traceback investigations show that cases in California, Minnesota, and Canada report having purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or H-E-B prior to becoming ill,” said the FDA, which is investigating the outbreak along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 

The strawberries are sold at supermarket chains Aldi, H-E-B, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods. The FDA did not mention the origin of the strawberries, but Mexico-based FreshKampo noted on its website that the production areas of its organic strawberries include Michoacán, Guanajuato, and Baja California, Mexico; and Morocco.

The FDA said consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat any fresh strawberries from these two brands if they were purchased between Mar. 5 and Apr. 25, 2022.

“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. 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by a virus that’s spread in the feces of an infected person. It is contagious but can be prevented by a vaccine.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice. In the most severe cases, it can lead to liver failure and death.

Illness onset in the strawberry outbreak ranges from Mar. 28 to Apr. 30. The FDA recommends that anyone who isn’t vaccinated and is developing these symptoms after consuming strawberries in the last two weeks consult their health care professional.

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