Strawberries Sold at Aldi and Costco Recalled Due to Hepatitis A Outbreak, FDA Warns
The recalled frozen berries were sold under several different brand names.
Strawberries are a grocery list staple: They're a sweet treat and a welcome addition to your morning smoothie or signature fruit salad. But while strawberries are generally a healthy choice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now says certain varieties could put your health in danger. In a recent recall notice, the agency announced that frozen strawberries sold at Aldi, Costco, and other major retailers are now subject to recall due to a hepatitis A outbreak. Read on to find out which berry brands are affected, and what you should do if you have any packages stored in your freezer.
Frozen organic strawberries were sold under the Kirkland Signature brand name.
On March 16, the FDA announced that San Francisco-based company California Splendor, Inc. is recalling specific lots of frozen organic strawberries distributed to Costco stores. The products were sold in four-pound bags under the Kirkland Signature brand at warehouses in Los Angeles and Hawaii and at two business centers in San Diego, the agency said.
A total of 13 lots are affected, with lot numbers listed in the recall notice. You can find the lot number on the back of the strawberries' packaging, on the bottom right above the Kirkland logo.
The FDA has since expanded the recall.
On March 17, the FDA issued yet another recall notice for additional frozen strawberries distributed by Scenic Fruit Company, of Gresham, Oregon. Recalled frozen organic strawberries were sold under the Simply Nature brand at Aldi stores in 12 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The strawberries were sold in 24-ounce packages.
The frozen organic strawberries from Scenic Fruit Company were also sold under three other brand names, including Vital Choice (sold in Washington state), Made With (sold in Illinois and Maryland), and PCC Community Markets (sold in Washington state). Scenic Fruit Company sold frozen organic strawberries under the Kirkland brand name, too, with products distributed to Costco warehouses in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
A frozen fruit mixture sold at Trader Joe's stores nationwide was included in the second recall notice as well. According to the FDA, 16-ounce packages of Trader Joe's Organic Tropical Fruit Blend Pineapple, Bananas, Strawberries & Mango are now subject to recall.
Specific lot codes, universal product codes, and best-by dates are listed in the FDA notice.
All strawberries were pulled due to a hepatitis A outbreak.
According to the FDA, frozen organic strawberries were recalled due to a hepatitis A outbreak. The agency confirmed that the disease hasn't been detected in these products, but they're being pulled "out of an abundance of caution."
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 13, five cases of hepatitis A have been reported in Washington, and frozen organic strawberries were identified as "the likely source of this outbreak." All infected patients reported eating frozen organic strawberries, the CDC said.
"Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus, including from food," the March 17 notice from the FDA reads. "It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. In rare cases, particularly consumers who have a pre-existing severe illness or are immune compromised, Hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure."
Those infected with hepatitis A will generally experience symptoms (fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and pale stool, among others) within 15 to 50 days of exposure, per the FDA.
Don't eat these frozen berries if you have them.
If you have these frozen strawberries at home, don't eat them, the FDA warned. Instead, return the product to the retailer where you bought the strawberries for a full refund.
Anyone who did consume the recalled frozen strawberries within the last two weeks should call their doctor or the local health department. These entities can advise if you need a hepatitis A vaccination, which can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to the contaminated food, according to the FDA.
If you're already showing symptoms of hepatitis A infection, contact your doctor or health department immediately.
Both California Splendor, Inc. and Scenic Fruit Company have stopped strawberry production while the FDA and CDC investigate what caused the outbreak. For questions about the Scenic Fruit strawberries, contact the company via email at [email protected]. Consumers with questions for California Splendor should email [email protected].