The Arizona Department of Health Services, along with federal and local partners, are investigating a nationwide recall involving frozen strawberries contaminated with hepatitis A. The recalled, frozen strawberries were distributed for sale to food service establishments nationwide, including here in Arizona.
The investigation is focused on distribution to commercial establishments, including restaurants and corporate cafeterias. Retailers are urged to check for the affected product labeled as a product of Egypt and/or a product of The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing [ICAPP]. A complete list of products recalled starting October 25 may be found on the Food and Drug Administration’s website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm518775.htm.
“Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that an unvaccinated person can get from exposure to the hepatitis A virus, including from contaminated food,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “While we do not have any reported local cases of hepatitis A associated with this recall, we would like to be sure our Arizona retailers check their inventory to prevent the spread of this virus in Arizona.”
Symptoms 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, yellow skin (jaundice), abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool. People with suppressed immune systems can have more severe illness. Contact your health care provider immediately if you are experiencing hepatitis A symptoms.
“Because the product is a frozen food item, it is possible the product is still in retailer freezers,” said Dr. Christ. “If any of the recalled product is found, we encourage all retailers and commercial food establishments to safely dispose of this recall item.”
Restaurants and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to prevent cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products. Food handlers should take steps to prevent the spread of hepatitis A, including washing and sanitizing display cases, refrigerators, cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products. It’s also important to wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
What Specific Products Were Recalled?
On October 25, 2016, ICAPP recalled all frozen strawberries and frozen strawberry products that it has imported into the United States since January 1, 2016. These include whole, sliced and sugared, and diced frozen strawberries.
|Type||Sliced sugar added|
|Brand/Labeling||“James Farm” brand or unbranded “Bits & Pieces”|
|Type||IQF Recipe Ready Diced strawberries|
|Sliced with Sugar|
|Type||Sliced strawberries 4+1|
|Company||CH BELT & Associates|
|Strawberries whole smoothie select|