The Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies, are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A that could be linked to fresh, organic strawberries sold in the United States and Canada.
Consumers should not eat strawberries from the brands FreshKampo or HEB that were sold between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, the FDA said in an announcement. Health officials also warned that retailers and restaurants should not use or sell the berries.
The strawberries in question are no longer in stores. However, some buyers may have stored or frozen them for later consumption, which the FDA warns against.
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The berries were sold at Aldi, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods, among others.
According to the FDA, tracing revealed that strawberries from FreshKampo or HEB in the aforementioned time frame "are a likely cause of illness in this outbreak."
"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," the agency advised.
In a statement, HEB said, "All strawberries sold at H-E-B are safe. No illnesses from strawberries related to the FDA investigation have been reported at H-E-B or in Texas."
"H-E-B has not received or sold organic strawberries from the supplier under investigation since April 16," it added.
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According to the FDA's case tracker, there have been at least 17 cases of the illness in the U.S., with 12 hospitalizations and zero deaths. The last reported case was on April 30, 2022. The cases have only been reported in California, Minnesota, and North Dakota thus far.