Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Mexican Strawberries Triggers Recall

In a concerning development, the Oregon Fruit Company has issued a nationwide recall for its frozen fruit products sold at major retailers due to potential contamination with hepatitis A. The recall affects Walmart, Costco, and HEB stores, urging consumers to check their freezers and take immediate action.

Photo Credit: FDA

Oregon Fruit Company, based in the Willamette Valley, has issued a recall for certain frozen fruit products sold at Walmart, Costco, and HEB stores due to potential contamination with hepatitis A. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety recall notice stating that the affected products include various packages of frozen fruit, including Mexican strawberries.

The recall affects several states, with Walmart stores in 31 states, including California, carrying affected products such as Great Value sliced strawberries, Great Value mixed fruit, and Great Value antioxidant blends. These products were distributed between January 24th and June 8th. Costco wholesale stores in California, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas also carried contaminated fruit. In addition, HEB stores in Texas sold Radar Farms Organic Fresh Start Smoothie Blend from July 18th to June 8th, 2022, and Radar Farms Organic Berry from October 3rd to June 8th, 2022.

To determine if they have purchased any recalled products, consumers are advised to check the specific lot numbers provided by the FDA and refer to the agency’s website for additional information. If individuals find any recalled products in their freezers, they should either discard them or return them to the store for a refund. It is important to note that products with different lot codes or purchase dates are not affected by the recall.

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus, primarily transmitted through contaminated food. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and include fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver function tests, dark urine, and pale stools. Individuals with existing health conditions or weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing liver failure. If someone has consumed a recalled product, it is recommended to consult a doctor or local health department to determine if vaccination is necessary. Seeking medical attention is also advised if symptoms of hepatitis A occur. While most people recover fully from hepatitis A, severe cases can lead to liver failure and, in rare instances, death.

It is crucial for consumers, restaurants, and retailers to be aware of the frozen strawberry recall and take appropriate action. The recalled products should not be sold, served, or consumed and should be properly disposed of. These frozen strawberries typically have a shelf life of 18 months to two years.

The FDA is currently investigating multiple hepatitis A outbreaks in various states, with nine cases reported so far. Although no illnesses have been linked to the recalled items, the outbreak is believed to be connected to frozen strawberries imported from Mexico. Willamette Valley Fruit Company is urging customers to check their freezers and discard any recalled products or return them for a refund. The FDA continues to investigate additional cases as part of its ongoing investigation into these multistate hepatitis A infections.

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