We’ve always thought of fruit smoothies as a healthy option and many people even drink it as a replacement for a full and heavy meal. But that might start changing now with this outbreak in America.
Across five states in America, there was a Hepatitis A outbreak due to frozen strawberries served at Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations. Customers of this cafe in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Wisconsin have been infected with Virginia having 44 people out with the infection.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection, though it is a “self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection.” Like with the other Hepatitis infections, symptoms include jaundice, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain and they can range in severity from mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness that can last up to several months.
Right now, the CDC and the FDA are investigating the outbreak in the affected states and while the Virginia Department of Health had warned residents of a possible health risk, this information came two weeks late. A statement posted on the Tropical Smoothie website says that the tainted strawberries were imported from Egypt and have since pulled all imported strawberries from their locations around the country.
An official with the Virginia Department of Health told Food Safety News the agency waited to alert the public because it had to get all of its facts straight:”It is important to have a high level of confidence in the message and accuracy in the assessment of risk when issuing statewide notices about a single product.”
This isn’t the first time a food-borne illness linked to frozen food has happened in America. Earlier this year, frozen vegetables were recalled due to a listeria outbreak in 50 states!