Health Advisory: Frozen strawberries recalled due to Hepatitis A risk to consumers
March 20, 2023
- Consider administering postexposure prophylaxis to susceptible (unvaccinated) persons who have consumed recalled strawberries or fruit blend from Scenic Fruit Company in the previous 14 days. Prophylaxis should also be given to susceptible close contacts of confirmed hepatitis A cases. For detailed information on hepatitis A postexposure prophylaxis recommendations see:
- Be alert for possible cases of hepatitis A, especially in patients with a history of consuming the recalled strawberries in the previous 50 days. Clinical jaundice may be a late sign or may never develop, particularly in children.
- Order hepatitis A virus (HAV) IgM antibody serology rather than HAV total antibody serology for patients with acute disease. Total HAV antibody identifies immunity due to previous infection or immunization, not for acute infection.
- Do not order HAV serology for people without symptoms or without elevated liver function tests, even if they ate the implicated berries. False positive HAV IgM test results are common when asymptomatic people are tested.
- Advise patients with suspected or confirmed HAV infection not to work or attend sensitive settings such as food service, health care, or child care. Persons with hepatitis A or diarrhea should not be allowed to work in or attend these settings for at least one week after jaundice onset or two weeks after symptom onset (if no jaundice), whichever is later. There is a risk of spreading the infection to others via the fecal-oral route.
- Promptly report all suspect and confirmed cases of HAV in Snohomish County to the Snohomish County Health Department Communicable Disease Program at 425-339-3503.
On March 17, 2023, Scenic Fruit Company recalled frozen Organic Strawberries and Frozen Organic Tropical Fruit Blend because an investigation linked the recalled frozen organic strawberries to at least five hepatitis A infections in Washington residents. The recalled products were sold in Washington at Costco, PCC Community Markets, Trader Joe’s. The product was also sold to Vital Choice Seafood. Consumers are advised to discard these products or return them to stores where they were purchased.
Full details on recalled products can be found at the DOH Food Recalls and Safety Alerts webpage: https://doh.wa.gov/you-and-your-family/food-safety/recalls
The incubation period for hepatitis A infection after exposure ranges from 14 to 50 days (the average is 28 days). Persons who consumed this product in the prior 14 days may benefit from postexposure prophylaxis. If someone ate the recalled strawberries more than 50 days ago and did not develop hepatitis A infection they are no longer at risk from that exposure.