CDC, state public health and regulatory officials, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to frozen organic strawberries imported from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico, by a common supplier. Frozen organic strawberries may be sold to a variety of retailers under multiple brand labels. Traceback and epidemiological investigations show that people with outbreak-associated cases in Washington purchased the same retail brand of frozen organic strawberries prior to becoming ill.
As of March 20, 2023, a total of 5 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A have been reported from 1 state.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 24, 2022, to December 27, 2022. Ill people range in age from 38 to 61 years, with a median age of 52 years. Forty percent of ill people are female. Of 5 people with available information, 2 (40%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicate that frozen organic strawberries, imported fresh from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico in 2022, are the likely source of this outbreak. The hepatitis A virus strain causing illnesses in this outbreak is genetically identical to the strain that caused a foodborne hepatitis A outbreak in 2022, which was linked to fresh organic strawberries imported from Baja California, Mexico, and sold at various retailers.
In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the 2 to 7 weeks before they became ill. Of people who were interviewed, all of them reported eating frozen organic strawberries. This proportion was significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 24% reported eating frozen berries in the week before they were interviewed.
In response to this investigation, California Splendor, Inc. of San Diego, California voluntarily recalled certain lots of 4-lb. bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Whole Strawberries that were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, California; Hawaii; and two San Diego, California business centers. The lots subject to this recall include: 140962-08, 142222-23, 142792-54, 142862-57, 142912-59, 142162-20, 142202-21, 142782-53, 142852-56, 142902-58, 142212-22, 142232-24, 142842-55.
In response to this investigation, Scenic Fruit Company of Gresham, Oregon voluntarily recalled frozen organic strawberries, sold to Costco, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood, and PCC Community Markets in certain states.
Hepatitis A: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Hepatitis A outbreaks. The Hepatitis A lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Hepatitis A and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $850 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Hepatitis A lawyers have litigated Hepatitis A cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as green onions, lettuce and restaurant food. The law firm has brought Hepatitis A lawsuits against such companies as Costco, Subway, McDonald’s, Red Robin, Chipotle, Quiznos and Carl’s Jr. We proudly represented the family of Donald Rockwell, who died after consuming Hepatitis A tainted food and Richard Miller, who required a liver transplant after eating food at a Chi-Chi’s restaurant.
If you or a family member became ill with a Hepatitis A infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Hepatitis A attorneys for a free case evaluation.