Hepatitis A Outbreak Connected to Imported Strawberries
Egyptian company, International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP), is voluntarily recalling certain lots of its frozen strawberries out of an abundance of caution in response to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation of an outbreak of Hepatitis A.
The recalled products were all distributed for sale to and use in food service establishments nationwide — not for use in food products offered for retail sale to consumers. Nonetheless, ICAPP is issuing this news release publicly to help mitigate any possible risk to the public health and to fully ensure that all recalled products are recovered.
Nearly all ill people interviewed report eating smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie locations in a limited geographic area. Traceback information indicates that the frozen strawberries served in these Tropical Smoothie Café locations were from ICAPP, imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie Café has stopped using these strawberries nationwide.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus, including from food. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months. Illness generally occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.
Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to a contaminated food. In rare cases, particularly consumers who have a pre-existing severe illness or are immune compromised, Hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure. Persons who may have consumed affected product should consult with their health care professional or local health department to determine if a vaccination is appropriate, and consumers with symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their health care professionals or the local health department immediately.
At this time, we do not have information to suggest that there is an ongoing risk of hepatitis A virus infection at Tropical Smoothie Cafes. If you think you’ve gotten sick from eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café, contact your health care provider. Because hepatitis A can have serious health consequences, CDC advises post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for unvaccinated persons who have consumed these strawberries in the last 2 weeks. PEP offers no preventive benefit to persons whose exposure occurred more than 2 weeks ago.
For more information about this investigation, please visit FDA’s outbreak investigation website at http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm518775.htm.