UPDATED April 11 with new case count. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified frozen strawberries as the food source of a Hepatitis A outbreak. The ongoing outbreak has sickened seven people. Berries are a common source of hepatitis A outbreaks.
What is Hepatitis A and How is it Spread?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, meaning stool from an infected person contaminates food that is ingested by others. This can happen when infected food handlers don’t properly wash their hands after using the restroom.
Symptoms of a hepatitis A infection can take up to seven weeks to develop. They include yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, light-colored or clay-colored stools, decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fatigue, fever, and joint pain.
Previous Outbreaks Linked to Berries
2022 Organic Strawberries Hepatitis A Outbreak
In 2022, a hepatitis outbreak linked to organic strawberries sold at ALDI, HEB, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis, and WinCo Foods sickened 18 people in three states were sickened. Thirteen people were hospitalized.
Sold under the brand names FreshKampo and HEB, the organic strawberries sickened 16 people in California and two people in Minnesota and North Dakota. Ten cases were also reported in Canada.
2019 Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Fresh Thyme Blackberries
A hepatitis A outbreak that began in 2019 and ended in 2020 was linked to fresh conventional blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme markets. T has ended after sickening 20 people. Eleven people were hospitalized. The case count by state was: IN (3), MI (1), MN (1), MO (1), NE (7), PA (1) and WI (6).
2016 Frozen Strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafe Hepatitis A Outbreak
The hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen strawberries sold in Tropical Smoothie Cafe products sickened 143 people in nine states. Fifty-six people were hospitalized. The illnesses were reported from: Arkansas (1), California (1), Maryland (12), New York (5), North Carolina (4), Oregon (1), Virginia (109), West Virginia (7), and Wisconsin (3). One hundred twenty-nine of those cases reported consuming a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie before they got sick.
2013 Townsend Farms Frozen Berries Hepatitis A Outbreak
The hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms berries sold at certain Costco stores ended after sickening 162 people in 10 states. The number of illnesses reported from each state was: Arizona (23), California (79), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (11), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2).
Health officials determined that pomegranate seeds in the frozen berry mix were the initial source of the outbreak. The implicated pomegranate seeds were supplied by the Turkish company, Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading.
Experienced Hepatitis A Lawyers
If you or a family member has been sickened by food contaminated with hepatitis A and you would like a free consultation with a food safety lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman Salmonella Legal Team. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.