Mar 20, 2023
Frozen organic strawberries recalled over Hepatitis A concerns
An Oregon company is recalling frozen organic strawberries sold to stores including Costco and Trader Joe’s because of Hepatitis A contamination concerns.
Scenic Fruit Co. of Gresham, Oregon, is recalling strawberries sold to Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, PCC Community Markets and frozen organic tropical blend sold to Trader Joe’s, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
While Hepatitis A has not been detected on this product, it should not be consumed and should be returned to local stores for a refund, according to a statement from the FDA. Scenic Fruit Co. has ceased production and distribution of the product as the FDA and the company investigate the outbreak source.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed five outbreak-associated cases of Hepatitis A in Washington state since March 13. All those affected reported eating frozen organic strawberries.
The illnesses started on dates ranging from Nov. 24, 2022 to Dec. 17, 2022. No deaths have been reported, but two people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC.
The outbreak is linked to frozen organic strawberries that were imported from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico by a common supplier.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. In rare cases, particularly in those with a pre-existing severe illness or who are immune compromised, Hepatitis A can progress to liver failure.
On March 16, Scenic Fruit Co. announced the recall of frozen organic strawberries sold under the Kirkland Signature brand at Costco locations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as the Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Tropical Fruit Blend sold nationwide.
The company’s frozen strawberries were also on shelves at some Aldi stores, the Seattle-based PCC Community Markets, and distributed through Vital Choice Seafood, a home delivery service. Those items — sold under the brand names Vital Choice, PCC Community Markets, Made With and Simply Nature — are also being recalled.
The affected strawberries have Best Used By dates of April 25, 2024 to Nov. 20, 2024.
This hepatitis A strain is genetically identical to a strain that caused a hepatitis A outbreak in 2022, according to Food Poisoning Bulletin. That outbreak was also linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico and sickened at least 19 people in four states.
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