FDA links hepatitis outbreak to organic strawberries

U.S. and Canadian regulators are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis that may have been linked to fresh organic strawberries.

In a joint statement over the weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Public Health Canada said illness in Minnesota, California and Canada occurred after people consumed FreshKampo brand strawberries. and HEB.

The authorities said the strawberries were purchased between March 5 and April 25. They were sold at various US retailers, including Aldi, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart and Trader Joe’s. In Canada, affected strawberries were sold March 5-9 at Co-op stores in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Potentially affected strawberries are past their use-by date, but health officials say consumers who have purchased them and frozen them to eat later should throw them away.

There have been 17 cases and 12 hospitalizations reported in the US, the FDA said. Ten cases and four hospitalizations have been reported in Canada.

Mexico-based FreshKampo, which grows the strawberries, said in a statement Sunday that it was working with regulators to determine how the problem occurred. FreshKampo said labels on potentially affected containers of strawberries will say “Product of Mexico” or “Distributed by Meridien Foods.”

In a statement on its website, Texas grocer HEB said it has not received or sold organic strawberries from the supplier in question since April 16. HEB said anyone still has strawberries. Westerners should dispose of or return them to the store where they purchased them. .

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver disease and, in rare cases, liver failure and death. Illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

The FDA said that consumers who ate potentially affected berries in the past two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A should consult a doctor immediately.

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