MDH confirms hepatitis A outbreak link to organic strawberries

(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota officials are warning consumers to avoid eating fresh, organic strawberries from the FreshKampo or HEB brands after linking hepatitis A illnesses to these strawberries.

The Minnesota Department of Health, the California Department of Public Health, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are working with federal officials and public health agencies in other states and Canada to investigate hepatitis A illnesses associated with eating strawberries labeled under the FreshKampo and HEB names and purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.

One case of hepatitis A associated with this outbreak was identified in Minnesota. The person was not hospitalized and has since recovered. The person became ill after eating strawberries purchased from Mississippi Market on March 21, 2022. The strawberries were labeled under the FreshKampo name.

Contact your health care provider if you think you may have become ill from eating these strawberries. Symptoms of hepatitis A include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), as well as dark urine and clay-colored stools. Symptoms usually occur 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

While the fresh strawberries in focus are no longer in stores, it is possible that consumers have frozen their strawberries and may have this product stored in freezers. With that in mind, officials are urging consumers to check their freezers and discard strawberries from these brands.

MDH says vaccination is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis A and is recommended for all kids starting at the age of 1. However, the hepatitis A vaccine became recommended in 2006 so many adults likely haven’t been vaccinated.