hand holding package of organic strawberries from FreshKampo
instagram | @freshkampo

FDA Warn Consumers To Check Strawberries After Hepatitis A Outbreak

A recent FDA warning letter warned consumers to stay vigilant about certain organic strawberries after they were linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak affecting the United States and Canada.

Lately, food manufacturers seem to have some bad luck as it's apparently harder than usual to release products that aren't contaminated by some gnarly bacteria or making people mysteriously ill.

Although it remains unclear why so many people are recently becoming sick after eating Lucky Charms cereal, we've seen that other brands like Jif have had to recall batches of peanut butter that carry the risk of salmonella infection.

Indeed, a major factor for why it's been so hard to find baby formula over the last month is a recall affecting one of the nation's largest manufacturers due to contamination by a potentially more serious bacterium called Cronobacter sakazakii.

But while some companies have needed to take extreme measures to ensure the public doesn't eat any tainted products, it seems that the latest scare has been contained enough that customers can dispose of any problem strawberries themselves.

After an outbreak of Hepatitis A affected two different strawberry brands, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation.

hand holding organic strawberry over garden
instagram | @freshkampo

According to their warning letter, this outbreak specifically concerns organic strawberries and has seen 17 cases in California, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Canada. Of those cases, 12 of them required hospitalization.

And it is for this reason that the FDA is now warning others against FreshKampo and HEB brand organic strawberries purchased between March 5 and April 25.

hand holding package of organic strawberries from FreshKampo
instagram | @freshkampo

Since both of these brands have their products available at Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Aldi, HEB, Sprouts Farmers Market, Weis Markets, WinCo Foods and Trader Joe's, the potential risk for contaminated strawberries is fairly far-reaching.

And while USA Today has reported that this period between March 5 and April 25 is way beyond the shelf life of any fresh strawberries on the market now, those who tend to freeze their fruit for later should take notice.

As the FDA have warned, "If you are unsure of what brand you purchased, when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away."

For those wondering what's at stake if a contaminated berry is eaten, Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the titular virus.

man's face with eyes yellowed by jaundice
Wikimedia Commons | CDC / Dr. Thomas F. Sellers / Emory University

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is characterized by symptoms that tend to include nausea, fatigue, stomach pains, and jaundice like in the case we see here.

Although most sufferers won't experience permanent effects after contracting Hepatitis A, symptoms can last up to two months and in rare cases, the disease can result in fatal liver failure.

Although the infections thus far appear to have started showing symptoms between March 28 and April 30, the FDA has a message for anyone who has eaten organic strawberries from FreshKampo or HEB within the last two weeks.

Valentine's Day party with strawberries and chocolate spread
instagram | @heb

If you have done so and aren't vaccinated against Hepatitis A, they recommend talking to a health care professional.

h/t: USA Today