FDA Investigates Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Frozen Strawberries


An outbreak of hepatitis A has been linked to frozen strawberries that were sold at Tropical Smoothie Café locations in the U.S.



A warning has been issued as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking into a link between a recent hepatitis A break A and frozen strawberries that were sold in certain states.



The FDA identified five samples of ICAPP’s frozen strawberries that tested positive for hepatitis A. ICAPP instantly recalled all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products that have been imported into the United States since January 1, 2016. ICAPP’s recalled frozen strawberries had been on sale at stores nationwide.

As of November 3rd 2016, The FDA has said that frozen strawberry products that were recalled by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP), may have possibly been served in food outlets as recently as October 27, 2016, and included sliced, diced and whole strawberries.



The five consignees who received recalled frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are:
  • C.H. Belt of Lake Forest, Ca. (sold under CH World Brand)
  • Jetro/Restaurant Depot of College Point, N.Y. (sold under James Farm brand and unbranded “Bits & Pieces”)
  • Sysco Corporation of Houston, Tex. (sold under Sysco brand)
  • Patagonia Foods of San Luis Obispo, Ca. (sold under Patagonia brand)
  • Reddy Raw of Woodridge, N.J. (sold under Regal brand).
  
The FDA and CDC have said they are not currently aware of any illnesses related to the recalled products other than the whole frozen strawberries. However, due the serious health implication connected with hepatitis A the CDC advises post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for anyone who has consumed these products in the last two weeks and was previously unvaccinated against the disease.
   
The FDA is working with firms to establish the health benefits down the line to any possible affected persons. 



Timeline of events:
  • On October 19, 2016 the FDA placed frozen strawberries from ICAPP on Import Alert 99-35 after multiple positive samples confirmed hepatitis A in the product.
  • As of October 20, 2016, CDC reports 134 people with hepatitis A linked to this outbreak have been reported from 9 states (AR, CA, MD, NC, NY, OR, VA, WI and WV).
  • 129 of these cases reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries from Tropical Smoothie Café. There have been no cases reporting illness from this same exposure since September 23, 2016.
  • 5 cases had no exposure to Tropical smoothie café. The latest illness onset date among these cases was 10/1/2016.
  • The investigation into these cases is ongoing.
  • According to the CDC, information available at this time does not indicate an ongoing risk of acquiring hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Café’s.  Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they removed these strawberries from their Cafés nationwide on August 19.
  • On October 25, 2016, ICAPP recalled all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products that it has imported into the United States since January 1, 2016. These include whole, sliced and sugared, and diced frozen strawberries.





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FDA Investigates Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Frozen Strawberries FDA Investigates Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Frozen Strawberries Reviewed by C C on 20:25:00 Rating: 5
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