U.S., Canada investigate Hepatitis A outbreak linked to organic strawberries

June 2, 2022 - 3:22 PM
Strawberries are seen in this illustration photo January 29, 2018. Picture taken January 29, 2018. (Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo)

 Food safety regulators in the United States and Canada are investigating a Hepatitis A outbreak potentially linked to tainted organic strawberries that has sickened 17 people in the United States and 10 in Canada, the agencies said.

Fifteen illnesses were reported in California, and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. Twelve of the sick people were hospitalized, the FDA said without elaborating.

The produce, which was distributed nationwide, was sold under the brand name FreshKampo or HEB between March 5 and April 25, the FDA said in a statement late Saturday.

“People who purchased the fresh strawberries and then froze those strawberries for later consumption should not eat them. They should be thrown away,” it said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said they were investigating cases in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The imported organic strawberries were bought between March 5 and 9 and are no longer available for purchase in Canada, they said.

“Based on investigation findings to date, consumption of imported fresh organic strawberries is the likely source of the outbreak,” the agencies said in a statement.

—Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum