Fresh strawberries linked to hepatitis A outbreak that sickened 17 nationwide

Minnesota officials are warning consumers to avoid eating fresh, organic strawberries from the FreshKampo or HEB brands after linking hepatitis A illnesses to these strawberries.

The Minnesota Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working with federal officials and public health agencies in other states and Canada to investigate hepatitis A illnesses associated with eating strawberries labeled under the FreshKampo and HEB names and purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.

One case of hepatitis A associated with this outbreak was identified in Minnesota. The person was not hospitalized and has since recovered. The person became ill after eating strawberries purchased from Mississippi Market on March 21, 2022. The strawberries were labeled under the FreshKampo name.

Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating these strawberries. Symptoms of hepatitis A include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), as well as dark urine and clay-colored stools. Symptoms usually occur 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

While the fresh strawberries in focus are no longer in stores, it is possible that consumers have frozen their strawberries and may have this product stored in freezers. With that in mind, officials are urging consumers to check their freezers and discard strawberries from these brands. Consumers can ask their local markets if they carried this specific brand of strawberries. To prevent hepatitis A contamination or transmission, consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis A. Vaccination is recommended for all children starting at age 1 year, for travelers to certain countries and for people at high risk for infection. While hepatitis A vaccination has been recommended for children since 2006, many adults have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A. Anyone who wants to be protected against hepatitis A can talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated.