May 29, 2024

History of Hepatitis A Outbreaks Linked to Berries is Long

The history of hepatitis A outbreaks linked to berries is long. The current outbreak that has sickened at least five people in Washington state is linked to frozen organic strawberries branded Kirkland Signature, and Scenic Fruit Company strawberries that were sold at Costco, Trader Joe’s, and other stores. Those products have been recalled.

History of Hepatitis A Outbreaks Linked to Berries is Long

In 2019, the FDA launched a program to sample berries for both hepatitis A and norovirus in the wake of three hepatitis A outbreaks from 1997 to 2017 that sickened hundreds of people. Since then there have been two outbreaks linked to berries, one last year and the new outbreak.

In 2013, there was a hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms Organic Antioxidant Blend frozen mixed berries. There were at least 162 people in 10 states sickened in that outbreak. The source of combination was pomegranate seeds that were imported from Turkey.

The outbreak in 2016 was linked to frozen imported strawberries that were served at Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurants in the eastern United States. At least 143 people in nine states were sickened in that outbreak. The berries were imported from Egypt.

In 2019, a hepatitis A outbreak was linked to Fresh Thyme blackberries. It sickened 20 people in seven states. Patients purchased fresh blackberries sold at Fresh Thyme Market and Woodman’s Market in September 2019. A single common source of the blackberries could not be found.

And in 2022, HEB organic strawberries and FreshKampo strawberries were linked to a hepatitis A outbreak that sickened at least 19 people in four states. The strain of hepatitis A in the current outbreak is identical to the strain that sickened people in last year’s outbreak.

Symptoms of hepatitis A usually start 15 to 50 days after exposure to the virus. Patients usually experience a low grade fever, fatigue, sudden nausea and vomiting, clay colored stools, diarrhea, dark urine, joint paint, abdominal pain, and jaundice, which is yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors.

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