In September, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and multiple state public health officials investigated a multi-state Hepatitis A outbreak linked to strawberries. More recently, the FDA has discovered that recalled strawberry products may have still been served--particularly in schools and restaurants--in the weeks following the initial recall.
Officials initially investigated frozen strawberries sent to a chain of smoothie cafes primarily located in Virginia. It wasn’t until this week that the FDA announced that the strawberry products were also sent to other food operators across the U.S. through the end of October.
The products in question include diced, sliced, sugared and whole frozen strawberries, the latter of which is the only product related to any illness reports. The nine-state Hepatitis outbreak has caused more than 130 illnesses. The products, distributed by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing in Egypt, were sent to:
- C.H. Belt of Lake Forest, CA (sold under CH World Brand)
- Jetro/Restaurant Depot of College Point, NY (sold under James Farm brand and unbranded “Bits & Pieces”)
- Patagonia Foods of San Luis Obispo, CA (sold under Patagonia brand)
- Reddy Raw of Woodridge, NJ (sold under Regal brand)
- Sysco Corporation of Houston, TX (sold under Sysco brand)
Each of these companies is cooperating with the FDA to identify other customers or companies who may have also received the recalled strawberry products.
The FDA is recommending that any foodservice operators or other businesses that have been supplied by any of the five companies should contact their suppliers immediately to determine whether or not they were provided with recalled strawberry products. Companies that served the recalled products should also reach out to their local health department immediately.
The FDA and CDC are not currently aware of any illnesses related to any recalled products other than whole frozen strawberries. However, because hepatitis A can have serious health consequences, CDC advises post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for unvaccinated persons who have consumed any of the recalled frozen strawberry products in the last 2 weeks. PEP offers no preventive benefit to persons whose exposure occurred more than 2 weeks ago.
CDC Links Hepatitis A Outbreak to Strawberries from Egypt