Kroger Recalls Some Berries Over Possible Hepatitis a Contamination

June 10, 2019 Updated: June 10, 2019

Grocery stores owned by Kroger across the country are recalling store-label frozen berries because they might be contaminated with hepatitis A.

There have been no reported illnesses.

recalled blackberries
Packaging of recalled frozen berries. (FDA)

The stores include Kroger, Ralphs, Fry’s, Fred Meyer and other chains . The recalled fruit are branded “Private Selection”. According to the company announcement on FDA website, the recalled frozen berries are:

  • The private selection frozen triple berry medley, 48 OZ (Best by: 07-07-20),
  • The private selection frozen triple berry medley, 16 OZ (Best by: 06-19-20)
  • The private selection frozen blackberries, 16 OZ (Best by: 06-19-20, 07-02-20),

Kroger announced Friday that it has removed the berries from store shelves, and that customers who have them at home should not eat them.

“Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from exposure to the Hepatitis A virus, including from food. It can 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, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool,” said FDA.

Bagged purchases from the Kroger grocery store.
Bagged purchases from the Kroger grocery store. (AP/Rogelio V. Solis)

“In rare cases, particularly consumers who have a pre-existing severe illness or are immune compromised, Hepatitis A infection can progress to liver failure. Persons who may have consumed affected product should consult with their health care professional or local health department to determine if a vaccination is appropriate, and consumers with symptoms of Hepatitis A should contact their health care professionals or the local health department immediately.”

The Food and Drug Administration discovered the contamination.

Here are some detail information about Hepatitis A and prevention measures for consumers recommended on FDA website:

At-Risk Groups of Hepatitis A

All people are susceptible to hepatitis A infection; however, individuals who have had hepatitis A before or who have been vaccinated are immune to hepatitis A infection.

Treatment and Prevention of Hepatitis A

Because hepatitis A virus infections can have serious health consequences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends providing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for unvaccinated people who have consumed any contaminated food or water within two weeks of exposure.

Foods Linked to U.S. Outbreaks of Hepatitis A

Although foodborne illnesses caused by hepatitis A are not common in the U.S., water, shellfish, frozen vegetables and fruit (berries), and salads are most frequently cited as potential foodborne sources.

Potential foodborne sources of hepatitits A
Potential food-borne sources of hepatitis A. (pixabay.com)

Preventing Foodborne Illness at Home

Hepatitis A can have serious health consequences. The CDC advises the post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) described above for unvaccinated persons who have consumed any products contaminated by the hepatitis A virus.

To prevent hepatitis A contamination or transmission, consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures by following the steps below:

Washing hands. (Burst/Pexels)

Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw foods.
Thoroughly wash hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers for protection against hepatitis A, as well as other foodborne diseases.

chopping board
Cleaning chopping board also helps hepatitis A prevention at home. (Pixabay.com)

Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.

Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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