Egyptian based, The International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP), based in Ramadan City, Egypt, is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its frozen strawberries in response to the Hepatitis A outbreak that has sickened 134 people from nine states — Arkansas, California, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia — according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No deaths have been reported in connection with the outbreak, although 52 people have been hospitalized.
The Food and Drug Administration’s recall announcement, dated Sunday, stated that the company’s action was taken in consultation with FDA because the Hepatitis A virus was detected in four lots of frozen strawberries ICAPP exported to the U.S.
The federal agency added that ICAPP is working closely with all of its distributors in this country to make sure that the recall is effective.
FDA issued an Import Alert for the company’s strawberries on October 19, indicating that the frozen berries would not be admitted into the U.S.
The FDA’s latest update on the investigation, posted October 20, notes the following: “Nearly all ill people interviewed report eating smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie locations in a limited geographic area. Preliminary traceback information indicates that the frozen strawberries served in these Tropical Smoothie Café locations were imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie Café has stopped using these strawberries nationwide.”
FDA noted in the October 30 recall announcement that the lots of frozen Egyptian strawberries were all distributed for sale to, and use in, foodservice establishments nationwide and not for use in food products offered for retail sale to consumers.