FDA Investigating Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Organic Strawberries
The FDA and other health agencies are investigating fresh organic strawberries, branded as FreshKampo or HEB, that are believed to be the source of hepatitis A infections in the US and Canada.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A infections linked to fresh organic strawberries.
The FDA has strongly cautioned consumers against eating, serving, or selling FreshKampo or HEB organic strawberries that were purchased from March 5-April 25, 2022. These fresh organic strawberries are now past their shelf life and cannot be bought in stores, but consumers may have purchased and frozen these strawberries, and thus should be made aware of the outbreak.
These contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California in Northern Mexico. They were sold at HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprots Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets, WinCo Foods, and other retailers.
Epidemiological tracing identified these strawberries as the likely source of hepatitis A infections in California and Minnesota. However, this investigation is still ongoing, and there may be more products included in the advisory.
Any consumers who purchased and ate organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5-April 25, 2022 and has not been vaccinated against hepatitis A should immediately see a healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is necessary. Those who have previously been vaccinated against or infected with hepatitis A do not require PEP.
Hepatitis A PEP can reduce the risk of serious health consequences. People 1-40 years receive a hepatitis A vaccine for PEP, and people outside of this age range receive virus-specific immunoglobulin (IG). Vaccination can prevent hepatitis A infection if administered within 14 days of exposure.
The FDA emphasized that anyone who has symptoms of hepatitis A infection, including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice dark urine, and pale stool, should see their healthcare provider. Symptoms usually occur within 15-50 days after ingesting contaminated food or water. In some people, and especially in children under 6 years old, hepatitis A infection may be asymptomatic.