FDA Ties Hepatitis Outbreak to Organic Strawberries

Canadian and U.S regulators are looking into a possible hepatitis outbreak linked to organic fresh strawberries.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Canada’s Public Health Agency jointly stated that illnesses occurred in Minnesota, California and Canada after individuals consumed FreshKampo and FreshE-B strawberry juices.

According to the agencies, strawberries were bought between March 5th and April 25th. They were sold at various U.S. retailers, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, and Trader Joe’s. Canada’s affected strawberries were available at Co-op locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and March 5, 9 and 10.

These strawberries may have been contaminated and are now beyond their shelf-life. However, health officials advise that consumers who bought them frozen to be able to consume them later on should dispose of them.

The FDA reported that there were 17 hospitalizations and 12 illnesses in the U.S. Canada reported 10 cases and 4 hospitalizations.

FreshKampo Mexico, the Mexican strawberry grower, released a statement on Sunday saying that it was working with regulators in order to find out how the problem happened. FreshKampo said the label on the containers of potentially affected strawberries would have said “Product of Mexico” or “Distributed by Meridien Foods.”

H-E-B in Texas stated that they have not received any organic strawberries since April 16th. H-E-B advised anyone with strawberries that they still have to throw them out or bring them back to where they were bought.

Hepatitis A, a viral infection that causes liver disease or liver failure, can be fatal. After drinking contaminated foods or water, illness usually develops within 15-50 days. Fatigue, nausea and vomiting can be accompanied by abdominal pain, jaundice, or stomach cramps.

According to the FDA, consumers who consumed potentially affected fruits in the last 2 weeks should contact a physician immediately.

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