Produce Sold at Costco Recalled Due to Hepatitis A Concerns

Shoppers who frequent Costco for their produce needs should take a quick inventory of their recent purchases. California Splendor, Inc. of San Diego, California on March 16 issued a recall of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Strawberries that were sold at Costco stores in California and Hawaii amid an outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses.

The recall affects certain lots of 4-lb. bags of Kirkland Signature Frozen Organic Strawberries, according to a notice shared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The lots subject to the recall include 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. The recalled strawberries were sold at Costco stores in Los Angeles, California, Hawaii, and two San Diego business centers. An image of the product label is available here.

The recall was initiated following an outbreak of Hepatitis A illnesses, though the FDA noted that Hepatitis A has not been detected on the recalled strawberries and the recall was instead issued "out of an abundance of caution." People commonly contract hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that's infected. Although mild cases of hepatitis A don't require treatment, and most people recover completely with no permanent liver damage, some may require hospitalization. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of hepatitis A h typically appear a few weeks after someone has the virus and can include tiredness and weakness, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and discomfort, fever, dark urine, and joint pain, among others. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause a sudden loss of liver function. Hepatitis A vaccination can prevent illness if given within two weeks of exposure to a contaminated food, per the FDA.

The FDA advised that consumers should not eat the recalled strawberries "out of an abundance of caution." The recalled product should instead be returned to consumers' local Costco store for a refund. Amid the recall, "the company has ceased the production and distribution of the affected product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem."

The recall follows a similar recall issued over the summer. In August, Ardo NV issued a recall of Ardo Fruitberry mix in various sizes after the hepatitis A virus was found in the product. At the time the recall, which was based in the U.K., was issued, at least 10 to 15 people had been sickened and recovered.