April 14, 2023
Public Health Media
Hepatitis A Case Linked to Recalled Frozen Strawberries Sold in Los Angeles County
The Los Angeles County of Department of Public Health recently identified a case of hepatitis A virus infection linked to a multistate outbreak. An ongoing investigation by FDA, CDC, and state and local health departments, including the California Department of Public Health, has linked the outbreak to frozen organic strawberries imported by a common supplier from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico. The FDA has recalled several brands of frozen strawberries and different suppliers are taking required actions to remove suspect frozen strawberries from their stores. The frozen organic strawberries were sold to a variety of retailers under multiple brand labels, including Kirkland Signature, Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Made With, PCC Community Markets, and Trader Joe’s. As this is a frozen product, residents who may have frozen strawberries purchased from Costco, Trader Joe’s, or other stores listed below should review the lot numbers or universal product codes (UPC) on the product to determine whether their strawberries might be implicated. Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat recalled frozen strawberries. These recalled products should be returned or thrown away.
If consumers purchased the recalled frozen organic strawberries and 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. PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A virus infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A virus infection do not require PEP.
Symptoms of a hepatitis A virus infection include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and dark urine. Contact your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms and you ate strawberries subject to the recall within the last 6 weeks.
The following suppliers and stores are taking actions:
California Splendor, Inc. of San Diego, California, has recalled certain lots of 4-lb. bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries that were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and at two San Diego business centers. The lots of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries subject to this recall can be found at the following FDA website: https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/outbreak-investigation-hepatitis-virus-infections-frozen-strawberries-february-2023. The website will be updated as additional lots are identified.
Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Oregon is also recalling frozen organic strawberries sold to Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, PCC Community Markets and frozen organic tropical blend sold to Trader Joe’s. Information from the FDA about products subject to this recall are available at the following website: https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/updated-scenic-fruit-company-recalls-frozen-organic-strawberries-and-frozen-organic-tropical-blend.
About Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is highly contagious and is transmitted from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route during close personal contact or through the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Most adults with acute hepatitis A will have symptoms that may include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark colored urine, and jaundice. Symptoms generally last for less than 2 months although some may have prolonged or more severe illness. There is no specific antiviral therapy. Vaccination is the best way to prevent disease. In addition, infection can be prevented in close contacts of patients by vaccination or administration of immune globulin within 2-weeks of exposure.