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FDA investigates hepatitis A link with strawberries and an H-E-B organic brand

H-E-B says the fruit is safe, but 17 people across the U.S. were sickened by the fruit — none in Texas.

The Food and Drug Administration says organic strawberries distributed by H-E-B and an organic fruit company called FreshKampo may be the cause of a hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened 17 people and hospitalized 12. None of those sickened are from Texas.

H-E-B said its organic strawberries are safe to eat, but the FDA urged people who may have frozen the strawberries before they spoiled in March to dispose of the fruit.

The strawberries were also sold at Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Walmart, but it's unclear if they were sold in Texas.


"Currently, the potentially affected product is past its shelf life," the FDA wrote. "If you are unsure of what brand you purchased when you purchased your strawberries, or where you purchased them from prior to freezing them, the strawberries should be thrown away."

The FDA said the strawberries were sold between March 5 and April 22.

"If consumers purchased fresh organic strawberries branded as FreshKampo or HEB between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022, ate those berries in the last two weeks, and have not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, they should immediately consult with their healthcare professional to determine whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed,'' the FDA wrote.

On FreshKampo's website, it listed that most of the berries in that period were grown in Mexico. While FreshKampo is based in Fresno, Calif., most of its growing takes place in Mexico.

Most of the illnesses have been in California, where FreshKampo brands are featured in grocery stores.

The FDA said hepatitis A is a contagious virus that can cause liver disease. A hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. In rare cases, particularly for people with a pre-existing health condition or weakened immune systems, hepatitis A infections can progress to liver failure and death.


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