Your strawberries may be making you sick. In an investigation on a recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in America and Canada, the FDA linked the spread back to organic strawberries from distributers “FreshKampo” and “HEB” which were sold between March 5th and April 25th of this year. The FDA is also advising those who purchased and froze the product for later use to throw them away lest risk contracting Hep A. These strawberries were also sold at several big-name retailers, such as Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi.
As of now, the contaminated strawberries have led to 17 people becoming ill and another 12 becoming hospitalized due to Hep A. The virus itself attacks the liver, leading to several symptoms, such as severe gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, and fevers. Note that there is a widely available vaccine for Hep A. Luckily, the illness usually only lasts for a couple weeks, but in some rare cases, it may become chronic and lead to more severe liver diseases. The FDA stated that Hep A mainly spreads through food and water contamination, most notably shellfish, raw vegetables, and fruits.
FreshKampo and HEB are also under investigation so that the fruits can be traced. FreshKampo not only sells their products to the US and Canada, but also in Europe and the Middle East. HEB issued a statement on their website stating that they do not distribute strawberries from the suppliers in the FDA investigation. They still, however, warn all their customers to throw out any organic strawberries bought in the timeframe above as to avoid accidentally contracting Hep A.