Strawberries sold nationwide linked to hepatitis A cases, FDA says

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Saturday that it opened an investigation into two brands of organic strawberries that are potentially linked to 17 cases of hepatitis A in three states.

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According to a news release, the FDA warned consumers not to eat, serve or sell brands of FreshKampo or H-E-B organic strawberries that were sold this year between March 5 and April 25. The agency said that while the shelf life of the strawberries has ended, it was concerned that some consumers may have frozen the strawberries to eat at a later date.

Of the 17 cases, 15 were discovered in California and there was one each in Minnesota and North Dakota, the FDA said in its release. Twelve people have been hospitalized and the last case of the illness was recorded on April 30.

There have been no deaths linked to the strawberries, the agency said.

The strawberries were sold at Aldi, H-E-B, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Weis Markets and WinCo Foods, the FDA said, adding that other outlets have sold the product.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis A is “very contagious.”

“It is spread when someone unknowingly ingests the virus -- even in microscopic amounts -- through close personal contact with an infected person or through eating contaminated food or drink,” the CDC said on its website. “Symptoms of hepatitis A can last up to two months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice.”

According to the FDA, consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report them and receive care.