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article imageEgyptian strawberries linked to Hepatitis A recalled nationwide

By Karen Graham     Nov 5, 2016 in Food
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging foodservice operators, including schools and restaurants nationwide, to check freezers for recalled Egyptian strawberries that may be contaminated with Hepatitis A.
It has been a long and twisted road to get to the source of the strawberries implicated in the Hepatitis A outbreak that started in August this year in Virginia. At that time, the Virginia Health Department thought that frozen strawberries served in smoothies at Tropical Smoothie Cafes in the state were responsible for the Hepatitis A cases.
But that has all changed after the FDA reported on Thursday that the frozen Egyptian strawberries were distributed to other foodservice operations, including schools, hotels, and restaurants across the country and may have been served as recently as Oct. 27, reports Food Safety News.
The FDA also reports the recalled strawberries include, but are not limited to whole, sliced and sugared, and diced strawberries that may have been served in foodservice operations nationwide.
In August, the FDA identified the source of the contaminated strawberries as coming from The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) in Egypt. At first, Egyptian authorities denied the company was at fault, and ICAPP did not issue a recall until this past week, and that was only after the FDA had imposed an Import Alert on the company’s strawberries citing Hepatitis A contamination.
The ICAPP recall includes all strawberries sent to the United States since January 1, 2016. The FDA has published a list of the five U.S. distributors of the recalled strawberries, but neither the FDA or the five distribution companies have made public the list of the thousands of customers who received the strawberries.
The five U.S. distributors who received frozen strawberries from ICAPP are as follows:
*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)
*Patagonia Foods of San Luis Obispo, Ca. (sold under Patagonia brand)
*Reddy Raw of Woodridge, N.J. (sold under Regal brand).
“… institutions and foodservice operations that find they served any recalled product within the last two weeks should contact their local health department and communicate to their customers regarding possible exposure to Hepatitis A virus and the potential benefit of post-exposure prophylaxis,” says the FDA.
California health officials report that 3,000 foodservice facilities, including many schools, received the contaminated fruits, while Michigan reports they have 100 facilities on their list. The Hepatitis A outbreak has already sickened 134 people in nine states (AR, CA, MD, NC, NY, OR, VA, WI and WV).
More about Hepatitis A, Egyptian, Strawberries, tropical smoothie cafe, ICAPP
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