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FDA Investigates Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Frozen Strawberries

November 3, 2016- FDA:

The five consignees who received recalled frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are:

  • C.H. Belt of Lake Forest, Ca. (sold under CH World Brand)
  • Jetro/Restaurant Depot of College Point, N.Y. (sold under James Farm brand and unbranded “Bits & Pieces”)
  • Sysco Corporation of Houston, Tex. (sold under Sysco brand) Reddy Raw of Woodridge, N.J. (sold under Regal brand).

Recalled product lists


FDA Investigates Outbreak of Hepatitis A Illnesses Linked to Frozen Strawberries

October 20, 2016 from the FDA:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to frozen strawberries in smoothies served at Tropical Smoothie Café locations.
The FDA, CDC and state and local officials are investigating hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to frozen strawberries in smoothies served in Tropical Smoothie Cafe restaurant locations. As of October 20, 2016, CDC reports 134 people with hepatitis A linked to this outbreak have been reported from 9 states (AR, CA, MD, NC, NY, OR, VA, WI and WV).
Nearly all ill people interviewed report eating smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie locations in a limited geographic area. Preliminary traceback information indicates that the frozen strawberries served in these Tropical Smoothie Café locations were imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie Café has stopped using these strawberries nationwide.
If you think you’ve gotten sick from eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café, contact your health care provider. 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. Illnesses are largely limited to Virginia and neighboring states.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to frozen strawberries in smoothies served at Tropical Smoothie Café locations.
As of October 20, 2016, CDC reports 134 people with hepatitis A linked to this outbreak have been reported from 9 states (AR, CA, MD, NC, NY, OR, VA, WI and WV). Among people with available information, 52 people have been hospitalized. Nearly all ill people reported drinking a smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Café in the month before illness started. Of the 54 ill people who were interviewed about the type of smoothie, all reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries. These ill people purchased smoothies at cafés located in a limited geographical area, including Virginia and neighboring states. The ill person in Oregon had purchased smoothies containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café location in Virginia while traveling. The FDA’s preliminary traceback investigation indicates that the strawberries served in Tropical Smoothie Café locations where ill people reported drinking smoothies were imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie Café reported that they stopped using Egyptian frozen strawberries in their locations in Virginia and neighboring states by August 8, 2016. Additionally, on August 19, 2016, the firm reported that they removed Egyptian frozen strawberries from all cafes nationwide.
The FDA’s investigation into the source and distribution of the strawberries is ongoing; and the agency has been in touch with the Egyptian International Health Regulations National Focal Point to discuss the investigation. FDA is working to identify other parts of the relevant supply chain and will take appropriate action as necessary. However, FDA is prohibited by law in most situations from releasing publicly certain confidential commercial information about supply chains.The FDA has initiated increased surveillance of imported strawberries and will provide more information as it becomes available.

November 1, 2016 From "FoodSafetyNews:
"The statement from the Egyptian producer/exporter suggested only one distributor is involved in the U.S."
"In an abundance of caution, Sysco immediately halted shipments and placed all frozen strawberries with a Country of Origin of Egypt on hold on Aug. 19, as soon as questions were raised regarding its quality,” the spokesman for Houston-based Sysco said Monday."

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