The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week expanded a recall of frozen strawberries due to a potential contamination of hepatitis A, according to an agency news release.
On Monday, the Willamette Valley Fruit Company based in Oregon announced the recall of frozen strawberries that are sold at Walmart, Costco, and HEB retail stores under the brand names Rader Farms Organic at Costco and HEB as well as Great Value at Walmart, the FDA notice said. The strawberries were grown in Mexico, the agency added.
The FDA notice further said that Walmart locations across the United States sold the Great Value strawberries, while the impacted products were sold at Costco stores in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and California between Oct. 3, 2022, and June 8, 2023. A list of products, lot numbers, and best by dates is available on the FDA’s recall website.
Hepatitis A, a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the hepatitis A virus, can “range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” the FDA said. A common vector for the virus is via contaminated food, officials say.
Hepatitis A disease occurs between 15 and 50 days of exposure, officials also said. The symptoms include jaundice—a yellowing of the skin and eyes—as well as pale stool, abnormal liver tests, abdominal pain, fatigue, and dark urine.
“In rare cases, particularly consumers who have a pre-existing severe illness or are immune compromised, hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure … persons who may have consumed affected product should consult with their health care professional or local health department to determine if a vaccination is appropriate, and consumers with symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their health care professionals or the local health department immediately,” the FDA said.
But the notice said that no illnesses have been associated with the recalled strawberries so far.
The FDA called on consumers not to eat the frozen strawberries. “Consumers are urged to check their freezers for the recalled product, not to consume it and either discard the product or return it to the store for a refund,” the agency said.
An FDA investigation has traced hepatitis A infections from strawberries that were imported from Mexico’s Baja California state, reporting five linked cases of the illness in March. The strain of hepatitis A in the cases was identical to the one that cause an outbreak of infections in 2022, according to the FDA.
In March of this year, Wawona Frozen Foods, California Splendor, Scenic Fruit recalled frozen strawberries sold under multiple brands, including PCC Community Markets, and Trader Joe’s, Kirkland Signature, Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Made With, and Wawona, the FDA said.
Other Recalls and Alerts
In a separate recall, Cricket Creek Farm of Williamstown, Massachusetts, is recalling Sophelise, Tobasi, and Berkshire Bloom cheeses due to a possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Those products were distributed in locations in New York and Massachusetts, Cricket Creek said, according to the FDA.
Some of the cheeses were recalled because “pasteurization records did not illustrate the heating element reached required temperature,” according to the notice. At least one person was hospitalized due to a severe infection with Listeria monocytogenes after eating the recalled product, the notice said.
Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria, can cause a serious infection known as listeriosis—a potentially fatal disease in high-risk individuals, said health officials.
And this week, the FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a listeria outbreak caused by leafy greens has ended. That outbreak was first reported in February 2023 but led to 18 hospitalizations since then.
“When this investigation began, there was not enough information to identify the source of the outbreak,” said the CDC on June 13. “State and local health officials collected as much information as they could by asking people or their caregivers about foods they ate before getting sick. Epidemiologic data showed that leafy greens were a likely source of this outbreak, but there was not enough other data to identify a specific type or producer of leafy greens.”
According to the agency’s outbreak report: “Three people ate leafy greens at the long-term care facilities they lived in, and one person ate leafy greens at a hospital they worked in. People bought leafy greens and different brands of packaged salads from several stores.” It noted that the actual number of people who were sickened is likely much higher.
“Due to the lack of additional detail in the epidemiological data and the absence of supporting evidence collected from traceback and sample collection, investigators were unable to determine a specific type or producer of leafy greens as the source of the outbreak,” said the FDA in an update on June 14.