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Frozen fruit recalled at Costco and Trader Joe's due to risk of hepatitis A contamination

The CDC has confirmed three hepatitis A cases, with two more suspected, among people in Washington who reported eating frozen strawberries.

Scenic Fruit Company, whose foods are sold at Trader Joe’s and some Costco stores, among others, is recalling various frozen fruit products due to a risk of hepatitis A contamination.

According to a company announcement that the Food and Drug Administration shared on Friday, the affected products include frozen organic strawberries sold under the Kirkland Signature brand at Costco locations in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as the Trader Joe's frozen "Organic Tropical Fruit Blend" sold nationwide.

Scenic Fruit Company's frozen strawberries were also on shelves at some Aldi stores, the Seattle-based PCC Community Markets, and distributed through Vital Choice Seafood, a home delivery service. Those items — sold under the brand names Vital Choice, PCC Community Markets, Made With and Simply Nature — are being recalled as well.

All names and best-by dates of the potentially contaminated products are listed on the FDA website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three hepatitis A cases, with two more suspected, among people in Washington who reported eating the frozen strawberries. Two of those patients required hospitalization, but no deaths have been reported.

“Although Hepatitis A has not been detected on this product, out of an abundance of caution, consumers should stop consuming the product and return it to their local store for a refund,” Scenic Fruit Company, which is based in Oregon, said in its announcement.

Trader Joe's said in an online statement on Friday that “no illnesses have been reported to date, and all potentially affected product has been removed from sale and destroyed.”

Scenic Fruit Company said that it has paused production and distribution of the products in question while it investigates the issue alongside the FDA.

A company spokesperson told NBC News that the frozen strawberries came from its supplier, California Splendor, which announced Thursday that it was recalling certain bags of Kirkland Signature frozen organic strawberries sold at some Costco stores in California and Hawaii.

The investigation is still ongoing. Based on previous investigations of this nature, it likely originated on a farm in Mexico,” Scenic Fruit Company said in a statement, referring to the source of hepatitis A. “However, we defer to the FDA and the CDC.”

The FDA said on Friday that the recalled strawberries were imported from farms in Baja California, Mexico. The strain of hepatitis A causing illnesses this year is genetically identical to the strain that caused an outbreak linked to strawberries from Baja California last year, according to the agency.

Hepatitis A infections can lead to liver disease, with symptoms usually appearing two to seven weeks after an infection, according to the CDC. People with mild illness may experience fever, fatigue, abdominal or joint pain, diarrhea, jaundice or dark urine.

The symptoms typically last less than two months, but some people may be sick for as long as six months.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus and can be spread by consuming food or drink handled by a person with an infection. Food can get contaminated with hepatitis A at any point during growing, harvesting, processing or handling, according to the CDC.

People with HIV or chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C, are at higher risk of liver damage or liver failure if they contract hepatitis A.

One shot of a hepatitis A vaccine can help prevent illness if administered within two weeks of exposure to contaminated food. There is no designated treatment for the disease, though symptoms can be alleviated with rest, proper nutrition and fluids.

Scenic Fruit Company said Thursday that people who may have consumed the recalled products should consult a health care professional or their local health department to decide whether getting vaccinated is appropriate. People with symptoms should see a doctor immediately, the company added.