FDA investigating Hepatitis A outbreak linked to organic strawberries sold at major retailers

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The Food and Drug Administration announced an investigation into fresh organic strawberries potentially linked to a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are also investigating the strawberries.

FILE- Close-up of ripening strawberries on the vine.

Strawberry brands FreshKampo and HEB purchased between March 5 and April 25 are being probed for a connection to an outbreak in the U.S. and Canada, the FDA said in a press release. Consumers who bought the fruit during this time period are instructed to throw them away.

"Currently, the potentially affected FreshKampo and HEB products are past shelf life," the FDA wrote. "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."

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FDA headquarters in Washington DC. (iStock / iStock)

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The strawberries are sold at several major retail chains, including Walmart, Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway.

Hepatitis A can cause mild and severe illnesses, and in rare cases, it can cause liver disease and even death, according to the FDA, although most people who become infected fully recover within a few weeks.

FILE- Close up portrait of handful of red strawberries (iStock / iStock)

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"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," the FDA said.

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The FDA has so far reported 17 illnesses and 12 hospitalizations connected to the strawberries. A total of 15 cases were reported in California, while Minnesota and North Dakota each had one case. 

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