Frozen raspberries sold under the supermarket brands known as Aldi and Raley’s, have been recalled due to possible contamination of the hepatitis A virus. According to Consumer Reports, Aldi has removed the product from its stores in several states including California. Raley’s Fine Foods, which is primarily located in California and Nevada, also pulled their product from all its stores. The recalled berries were produced by Wawona Frozen Foods in Clovis, California. So far, no illnesses have been reported.
The positive sample was found during routine testing by government investigators. In November 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began an 18-month testing program of frozen berries, from production plants to stores. The testing specifically checks for viruses that cause norovirus and hepatitis A. The FDA reports that there have been three outbreaks of hepatitis A and one norovirus outbreak due to frozen berries between 1997 and 2016. Anyone who has purchased the berries is urged not to eat them and return them to a store for a refund.
Understanding Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver. Symptoms include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and jaundice. There is no known treatment for this infection and it usually clears up on its own. Symptoms usually last for less than two months, but in some people, they can last up to six months. In rare cases, the infection could lead to liver failure and even death. There is a vaccine available to prevent hepatitis A. Also, if you have been infected with the virus once, you cannot get it again.
In general, the virus is spread via what is known as the “fecal-oral route.” For example, if someone working in a processing plant fails to wash his or her hands properly after using the bathroom, the food could become contaminated. In some cases, contaminated water could also be a source. While cooking kills hepatitis A, freezing does not. Since berries are not cooked, but eaten fresh or raw, there is a higher risk of people getting infected.
If You Have Been Infected
If you experience any symptoms of foodborne illnesses, please contact your local health department to report the illness. If you have some of the contaminated product remaining, isolate and preserve it so it can be independently tested for pathogens. Preserve any receipts you may have for the product to show proof of purchase. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.