US

Frozen Berries Recalled Over Hepatitis A Virus Contamination: FDA

By Tiffany Meier

Federal officials have issued a public warning to customers about certain brands of frozen berries that have been tested positive for hepatitis A virus contamination.

The FDA alert applies to frozen berries sold nationwide at Kroger stores and under the grocery store’s “Private Selection” brand.

The fruit is manufactured by Townsend Farms.

“The FDA is advising consumers not to eat and to throw away frozen fruit purchased from Kroger and other retail locations packaged under Kroger’s ‘Private Selection’ brand,” stated the FDA alert.

“These products are available at Kroger and other retail locations and have a two-year shelf life … The FDA is continuing to investigate to determine whether there are other implicated products,” the alert stated.

While no customers have reported feeling ill, the FDA informed Kroger that a sample of the Private Selection frozen berries tested positive for hepatitis A virus contamination.

frozen berries
File image of frozen raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. (Devin Rajaram/Unsplash)

The products recalled are:

PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 48 OZ (BEST BY: 07-07-20; UPC: 0001111079120);
PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN TRIPLE BERRY MEDLEY, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20; UPC: 0001111087808);
PRIVATE SELECTION FROZEN BLACKBERRIES, 16 OZ (BEST BY: 06-19-20, 07-02-20; UPC: 0001111087809)

Hepatitis A virus

Hepatitis A is “a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Symptoms of hepatitis A infection include fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

“Hepatitis A virus can result in a liver infection that may be inapparent. However, when symptoms occur, they can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months,” according to the FDA alert.

At the time of the recall alert, both the FDA and CDC had not received notices of any confirmed hepatitis A illnesses in connection with the implicated frozen berries.

However, it can take up to 50 days after exposure for symptoms of hepatitis A to develop. While some people don’t develop symptoms, they can be carriers of the virus and can infect others.

The FDA alert did not state when the blackberries had been distributed to retailers or made available to consumers.

However, Kroger’s recall notice on the FDA website says all of the company’s grocery chains received the recalled frozen berries.

Stores include:

  • Supermarkets: Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market, Mariano’s
  • Multi-department stores: Fred Meyer
  • Dillons Marketplace, Fry’s Marketplace, King Soopers Marketplace, Kroger Marketplace, Smith’s Marketplace
  • Price-impact warehouse stores: Food 4 Less, Foods Co
Twenty-six sites of Kroger Co. will ban payment through Visa credit cards starting Aug. 14, 2018. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A Kroger store in a file photo. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Customers who have purchased the berries should return them to a store for a full refund or replacement.

Kroger has removed the recalled items from store shelves and started its customer recall notification system, according to the FDA alert. The system alerts customers who may have purchased recalled products through “register receipt tape messages” and phone calls. Customers who have questions can call 1-800-KROGERS.

kroger store
A Kroger store in Indianapolis in a file photo. (Michael Conroy, File/AP Photo)