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Strawberry products sold at Costco, Trader Joe's, recalled after hepatitis A outbreak

A frozen organic strawberry product subject to the recalls is pictured in a photo provided by the FDA.
Food and Drug Administration
A frozen organic strawberry product subject to the recalls is pictured in a photo provided by the FDA.

Frozen organic strawberries sold at stores across the U.S., including Costco and Aldi, as well as a strawberry-containing frozen tropical fruit blend sold at Trader Joe's, have been recalled over the products' potential link to an outbreak of hepatitis A infections in Washington state.

The Food and Drug Administration is advising people not to consume certain frozen strawberry brands after five people who had eaten frozen strawberries last year were later sickened. Two people were hospitalized, according to the federal agency.

An FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation discovered that all five people infected had bought the same brand of frozen organic strawberries before becoming ill. Those berries, which came from a common supplier that imported them from some farms in Baja California, Mexico, "are the likely source of this outbreak," the CDC said.

Two companies have since issued voluntary recalls in response to the investigation. California Splendor of San Diego recalled specific lots of four-pound bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries that were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, Hawaii and two San Diego business centers.

Scenic Fruit Company, based in Gresham, Ore., recalled frozen organic strawberries sold in several states — at Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets. The company also recalled a frozen organic tropical fruit blend, that includes strawberries, sold at Trader Joe's locations nationwide.

The recall applies to the frozen products sold under the following brand names: Simply Nature, Vital Choice, Kirkland Signature, Made With, PCC Community Markets and Trader Joe's.

The FDA urges consumers to destroy these products or return it to their local store for a refund "out of an abundance of caution."

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection, according to the CDC, often spread via close contact with an infected person or through eating contaminated food or drink. Symptoms, which could take as many as seven weeks to show up, can include vomiting, stomach pain, dark urine or pale stool, diarrhea and fatigue.

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Corrected: March 20, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story implied that the Trader Joe's recalled product was frozen strawberries as an individual product. The Trader Joe's recalled product is a frozen tropical fruit blend that contains strawberries along with other fruits.
Emma Bowman
[Copyright 2024 NPR]