If You Bought This at Walmart, Kroger, or Aldi, Throw It Out Now, FDA Warns

The health agency says an item sold by the retailers poses a significant health risk.

No matter where you live, there's a good chance you rely on at least one major supermarket when grabbing groceries and other essentials. And no matter what your preference may be, each retailer makes it easier to prepare for a big meal or keep your fridge and pantry well-stocked with everything you might need. But if you've recently made purchases at large grocers such as Walmart, Kroger, or Aldi, you may want to check your kitchen after the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning about a potential health threat affecting a staple item. Read on to see which product could be putting you in harm's way.

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Federal health agencies regularly monitor products and issue alerts to keep the public safe.

woman looking at grocery store shelves

Even as lingering supply chain issues have made customers less confident about finding specific items on the shelf, most shoppers rest assured that the products they pick up at the store are safe to consume. After all, strict requirements and regulations for manufacturers help keep the public out of harm's way. But in some cases, it may only be after certain items are distributed and sold that major health agencies can sound the alarm on a potential problem.

Recently, authorities have issued several far-reaching recalls affecting a wide range of retailers. On May 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that America New York Ri Wang Food Group Co., Ltd. was voluntarily recalling 14,635 pounds of its ready-to-eat sausage sticks and luncheon loaf products after a customer reported finding two pieces of metal in one of their products.

And since an initial announcement on May 20, the FDA has issued a string of recalls related to J.M. Smucker Co.'s discovery of potential Salmonella contamination in its peanut butter products. The wide range of affected items includes fresh fruit snack cups prepared by Albertsons Companies and sold by more than 20 grocery store chains, as well as certain fudge products sold by Walmart.

The FDA is now warning that one product sold by multiple grocery stores could pose a potentially serious health risk.

The entrance to a Kroger supermarket

Now, health authorities have issued another product warning with far-reaching implications. On May 28, the FDA announced that fresh organic strawberries sold under the brands FreshKampo and HEB were not safe for consumption. While the produce—which stores sold between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022—is now past its shelf life, the agency is warning that anyone who purchased and froze the items for later consumption could be at risk.

According to the notice, the items were distributed to multiple major retailers, including but not limited to Walmart, Kroger, Aldi, HEB, Safeway, Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe's, Weis Markets, and WinCo Foods.

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An investigation has linked the fruit to a potentially serious illness.

woman lying on couch with stomach cramps

The FDA issued the warning after an investigation that also involved the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency linked the strawberries to a recent hepatitis A outbreak. The agency reports that there have been 17 reported cases in the U.S., including 12 hospitalizations, with 15 in California and one each in Minnesota and North Dakota. Ten cases have also been reported in Canada, with four resulting in hospitalization, the Associated Press reports.

According to the CDC, hepatitis A is a "highly contagious, short-term liver infection" spread through person-to-person contact or by eating contaminated food or drink. The agency says that while not all people who contract the virus will develop symptoms, those that do usually see the first signs two to seven weeks after infection. Typically, they include yellow skin or eyes, not wanting to eat, an upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, dark urine or light-colored stools, diarrhea, joint pain, and feeling tired.

Here's what you should do if you have the affected items in your freezer.

woman in blue shirt photographed from behind talking to a young doctor with a stethoscope around her neck

The FDA warns that anyone who purchased the strawberries shouldn't eat or serve them and should immediately throw them out, including anyone who may not know which brand of produce they've frozen. The agency also advises that anyone who isn't vaccinated against hepatitis A and believes they may have eaten the affected berries should speak with their doctor immediately to determine whether or not post-exposure prophylaxis may be necessary. Anyone who thinks they may have symptoms after eating the fruit should also talk to their healthcare provider immediately, per the FDA.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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