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Outbreak Investigation of Hepatitis A in Strawberries

Thursday June 2, 2022

FDA Announcement - Do not eat, serve, or sell FreshKampo or HEB brand organic strawberries purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022

The FDA, along with CDC, and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of hepatitis Ainfections in the United States linked to fresh organic strawberries. These potentially contaminated strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico and branded as FreshKampo and HEB by a common supplier; they were purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. The Public Health Agency of Canada (FDA External Link Disclaimer) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (FDA External Link Disclaimer) are also investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A. Imported fresh organic strawberries have been identified as the likely source of that outbreak. 

Currently, these fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo and HEB products are past shelf life and are not available for purchase in stores. People who purchased FreshKampo and HEB fresh organic strawberries between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. These products may have been sold at the following retailers, including, but not limited to:

  • HEB
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Walmart
  • Weis Markets
  • WinCo Foods

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.

Epidemiologic and traceback data show that fresh organic strawberries are a likely source of illness in this outbreak. Illness onset dates range from March 28 – April 30, 2022. Records from outbreak-associated cases in California and Minnesota show cases having purchased FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries prior to becoming ill. These purchases occurred between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. The traceback investigation for these cases shows that the strawberries were imported from Baja California, Mexico by a common supplier.  Strawberries that were identified in shipments purchased by cases were sold under both the FreshKampo and HEB brands.

As this investigation is ongoing, additional products may be included. More information will be provided in this advisory as it becomes available.

Recommendation 

Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not sell, serve, or eat any fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB if purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022. People who purchased the fresh strawberries and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. They should be thrown away. Currently, the potentially contaminated product is past its shelf life. 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.

If consumers purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed. PEP is recommended for unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus in the last two weeks because vaccination can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days of exposure. Those with evidence of previous hepatitis A vaccination or previous hepatitis A infection do not require PEP.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have symptoms of a hepatitis A infection after eating these fresh organic strawberries, or if you believe that you have eaten these strawberries in the last two weeks.

Case Counts

Total U.S. Illnesses: 17
Hospitalizations: 12
Deaths: 0
Last illness onset: April 30, 2022
States with Cases: CA (15), MN (1), ND (1)
Product Distribution: Nationwide 

Useful Links

Courtesy of the Food & Drug Administration