Frozen organic strawberries sold at Costco, Aldi, Trader Joe’s and other retailers have been recalled after the products were linked to five cases of hepatitis A in Washington state, the Food and Drug Administration said.
The administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with state and local authorities, are investigating the cases, including two people who were hospitalized.
“Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not sell, serve or eat recalled frozen strawberries,” the FDA said in a statement. “These recalled products should be returned or discarded.”
Investigators found that five people who became ill and provided information about what they ate all reported consuming the strawberries, the FDA said.
The hepatitis A strain is genetically identical to a strain that caused an outbreak of hepatitis A infection in 2022 that has been linked to fresh organic strawberries also imported from Baja California, Mexico.
The two vendors in the recent cases, California Splendor and Scenic Fruit, sold the frozen strawberries to a number of retailers under multiple brand names, including Kirkland Signature, Made With, PCC Community Markets, Simply Nature, Trader Joe’s and Vital Choice, the FDA said .
“Although hepatitis A has not been identified with this product, out of caution consumers should stop consuming the product and return it to their local store for a refund,” Scenic Fruit said in a statement.
Scenic Fruit said it stopped manufacturing and distributing the product due to an investigation by the FDA and the company.
California Splendor, whose products are sold at Costco stores in Hawaii, Los Angeles and two business centers in San Diego, said in a statement that hepatitis A has not been detected in its products.
Costco said hepatitis A was not detected in the products sold, but added that consumers should return them for a full refund. Aldi said no illnesses linked to the recalled products had been reported.
Trader Joe’s recalled its organic tropical fruit mix, which included frozen strawberries as well as frozen bananas, pineapples and mangoes, but not its organic strawberries as a standalone product.
“To date, no diseases have been reported and all potentially affected product has been withdrawn from sale and destroyed,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement. “If you bought an organic tropical fruit mix, please don’t eat it. We urge you to discard the product or return it to Trader Joe’s for a full refund.
Hepatitis A attacks the liver. Infection typically occurs within 15 to 50 days after ingesting contaminated food or water, and symptoms can include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and light-colored stools.
“If consumers purchased the recalled organic frozen strawberries and have eaten those berries within the past two weeks and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should consult their healthcare practitioner immediately to determine if post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is required. ‘ the FDA said.