Hepatitis A found in more fruit products in B.C. and Alberta

Hepatitis A found in more fruit products in B.C. and Alberta

Hepatitis A virus was first detected in Western Family brand fresh pineapple chunks.

More fruit products sold at Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea and PriceSmart stores throughout the province may be contaminated with hepatitis A, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The additional products, which were Western Family brand or unbranded, are:

  • Fresh pineapple chunks 227g and 425g
  • Fresh peeled and cored pineapple 16oz
  • Fresh fruit salad 198g, 227g and 425g
  • Fresh citrus salad 226g

The products had a best before date of Aug. 19. They were also sold in Alberta and at Ferraro Foods in Trail B.C. A full list of products is available on the Save-On-Foods website. 

The virus was first detected earlier this week in a sample of Western Family brand fresh pineapple chunks sold in ready-to-go cups. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) said those cups were produced on Aug. 11 and distributed to 38 Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods and PriceSmart Foods stores in B.C. The cups may have been on sale from Aug. 11 and had a best before date of Aug. 19.

The warning was expanded on Tuesday to include the additional fruit products.

It is not known how the fruit was contaminated but the BCCDC said the virus is found in the stool of an infected person and is spread when a person eats food or drinks water that has come in contact with infected stool. Infected food handlers can pass on the virus to other people if they do not wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom.

Anyone who ate the products on Aug. 18 or later is advised to get a hepatitis A vaccine immediately as it can prevent a hepatitis A infection if given within 14 days after exposure. Anyone who develops hepatitis A symptoms should contact their family doctor and local health unit office immediately. A free hepatitis A vaccine will also be offered at Overwaitea banner stores including Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Overwaitea Foods and Urban Fare. Individuals are asked to contact the pharmacist at those stores for more information.

Hepatitis A symptoms include yellow skin or eyes, loss of appetite, fever, tiredness, stomach ache, nausea, dark coloured urine, and light or whitish coloured bowel movements. Symptoms can also be so mild that a person may not be aware that they have the disease. Illness can last for several weeks but people generally recover completely.  Hepatitis A may be life threatening in the elderly or those with chronic liver disease. Symptoms may develop 15 to 50 days after exposure.

Consumers who froze the product are asked to throw it out.

No illness has been reported at this time. According to BCCDC, the investigation is ongoing and other products are believed to be affected. More information will be provided by the BCCDC when it is available.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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