Frozen organic strawberries sold at several stores, including Costco and Aldi, and in a frozen fruit blend at Trader Joe’s are being recalled after they were tied to an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in Washington state.
The US Food and Drug Administration is also warning people not to eat, sell or serve certain brands of frozen organic strawberries after five people have been infected with hepatitis A after eating them. Two people have been hospitalized.
Investigators with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in all five of the cases, the sick individuals had eaten frozen strawberries sold by a common supplier. Strawberries used by this supplier were imported from certain farms in Baja California, Mexico, in 2022.
The strain of hepatitis A causing the illnesses this year is genetically identical to the strain that caused an outbreak of hepatitis A infections last year. That outbreak was linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Mexico and sold at various retailers in the United States.
Hepatitis A is a hardy virus that survives freezing. It persists for hours on human hands and for days on contaminated surfaces.
In response to the investigation, two suppliers have now recalled frozen organic strawberries: California Splendor of San Diego, California, has recalled certain lots of 4-pound bags of Kirkland brand frozen strawberries at Costco stores in California.
Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Oregon, has voluntarily recalled frozen organic strawberries sold to Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets in certain states and to Trader Joe’s nationwide. At Trader Joe’s, the strawberries were included in its Organic Tropical Fruit Blend.
The bags of strawberries have “best by” dates that range from April to November 2024. A full list of the recalled strawberries is available on the FDA’s website.
The CDC and FDA advise that if you have any of the recalled strawberries in your freezer, you should throw them away or return them to the store for a refund.
Hepatitis A virus is a virus that attacks the liver. People get sick 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine and pale stool. Some infections, particularly in children younger than age 6, may not cause symptoms