Frozen Fruit Sold at Costco, Trader Joe's, Aldi and More Recalled Amid Hepatitis Outbreak
A growing number of frozen fruit products are being pulled store shelves. As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and local partners, investigate an outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections linked to frozen organic strawberries, a nationwide recall has been issued for frozen organic strawberries sold at Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets, as well as for the Trader Joe's frozen organic tropical blend.
The first of what has since grown to two recalls was issued on March 16 when California Splendor, Inc. recalled Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Strawberries. Sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, Hawaii and two San Diego business centers, the affected products were from lot codes 140962-08, 142162-20, 142202-21, 142212-22, 142222-23, 142232-24, 142782-53, 142792-54, 142842-55, 142852-56, 142862-57, 142902-58, and 142912-59. The lot number can be identified on the back of the bag.
That same day, the FDA's website updated to include a recall of Scenic Fruit Company's frozen organic strawberries, which were sold under various brand names at Costco, Aldi, KeHE, Vital Choice Seafood and PCC Community Markets. The frozen strawberries may also be sold under brand names such as Kirkland, Simply Nature, Made With and PCC Community Markets, per the FDA notice. The Gresham, Oregon-based company's recall also includes Trader Joe's frozen organic tropical blend. The recalled products were sold in numerous states. A complete list of the recalled frozen produce, including best-by dates and the states where they were distributed, can be found here.
In both recalls, hepatitis A has not actually been detected on the recalled products. However, health officials are advising consumers against eating the products as they continue to investigate a hepatitis A outbreak that has been linked to the consumption of frozen strawberries. Per a CDC update, there have been five outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A as of March 13, and two people have been hospitalized. The report states that the outbreaks began sometime between November 24 and December of last year. All those sickened reported having eaten frozen organic strawberries, with the FDA stating, "FDA's traceback investigation identified a common supplier of the frozen organic strawberries. Strawberries used by this supplier were imported from certain farms located in Baja California, Mexico, in 2022." Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that can be contracted 15 to 50 days after exposure. The disease can be prevented with a vaccine if administered within two weeks of exposure.
Images of the recalled products can be viewed here. The FDA noted that more products may be recalled as the investigation into the outbreak continues. The FDA and CDC have advised consumers not to eat, serve, or sell the recalled products. The products should instead be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase. Those who have eaten the recalled frozen strawberries within the last 14 days and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A should contact their local health department or health care provider.