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Expanded Voluntary Recall of Frozen Strawberries Linked to Hepatitis A Outbreak

15/06/2023 à 22:46:33

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The FDA has expanded the voluntary recall of frozen strawberries due to a hepatitis A outbreak linked to contaminated berries, prompting a nationwide warning and disposal of affected products.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an expanded voluntary recall of frozen strawberries following the identification of nine cases of hepatitis A that have been linked to the consumption of contaminated berries. The recall, initiated by the Willamette Valley Fruit Company of Salem, Ore., includes frozen strawberries sold under the brand names Great Value at Walmart, Rader Farms Organic at Costco, and HEB stores. This recent development comes as the FDA has traced the infections back to organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico.

Since November of last year, nine individuals have fallen ill with hepatitis A in Washington State, California, and Oregon, with three of them requiring hospitalization. The last reported cases occurred in April. The FDA has advised consumers, restaurants, and retailers to refrain from selling, serving, or consuming the recalled frozen strawberries and to dispose of any remaining products. The affected items have varying "best by" dates ranging from September 23, 2023, to November 20, 2024, and can be identified through specific lot codes available on the FDA's website.

In March, three companies—Wawona Frozen Foods, California Splendor, and Scenic Fruit—issued voluntary recalls of frozen strawberries under various brand names, including Wawona, Kirkland Signature, Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Made With, PCC Community Markets, and Trader Joe's. These products were sold at popular retailers such as Costco, Aldi, and Meijer. The earlier outbreak in 2022, also linked to fresh organic strawberries from Baja California, Mexico, had a similar strain of hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Symptoms typically manifest within 15 to 50 days after consuming contaminated food. Common signs include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, and pale stool. Individuals who suspect they may have consumed the recalled frozen organic strawberries within the past two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A are advised to contact their healthcare provider promptly. Precautionary treatment, even after exposure, may help prevent the onset of illness.

The FDA has emphasized that the affected frozen strawberries have a widespread distribution and a long shelf life, urging consumers to check their freezers and discard any potentially contaminated products. Given the seriousness of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have joined forces with public health agencies to raise awareness and encourage vigilance among the general population. Individuals who have recently consumed the recalled strawberries should monitor their health closely and seek medical attention if symptoms arise.

The expanded voluntary recall of frozen strawberries serves as a proactive measure to mitigate the risk of further hepatitis A infections. The FDA's ongoing investigation has identified a link between the outbreak and organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico. Consumers are strongly advised to adhere to the FDA's guidance by refraining from consuming the recalled products and disposing of them appropriately. As authorities continue to monitor the situation, public health organizations stress the importance of remaining informed and taking necessary precautions to safeguard personal health.

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