SAN DIEGO — The first lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California in San Diego County, against FreshKampo/Meridian Fine Foods on behalf of David Arthur and Michelle Brown, and their daughter. The Arthur-Brown family became ill with hepatitis A after consuming FreshKampo branded strawberries. The plaintiffs are represented by Marler Clark, a Seattle based food safety law firm, and local counsel, Frederic L. Gordon.
The Arthur-Brown family purchased and later consumed FreshKampo strawberries on April 16, 2022, and April 25, 2022. Michelle Brown began to experience symptoms of a hepatitis A infection on or about May 5, 2022, and her daughter followed soon after on May 8, 2022. They both suffered from diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue and digestion issues.
David Arthur began to experience symptoms related to his infection on or about May 8, 2022. His initial symptoms included clammy skin, stomach upset and body aches and progressed to lethargy, pain, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine and jaundice. While Michelle and their daughter recovered, on May 19, 2022, David's symptoms worsened, and his medical condition progressed to acute liver failure. David was hospitalized, and fortunately, with significant medical testing and intervention, he was discharged from the hospital on May 20, 2022.
"Strawberries grown outside the United States have been a source of hepatitis A infections in the past," said William Marler, managing partner at the food safety law firm Marler Clark. "The FDA and retailers need to do a far better job of inspecting so we can avoid human fecal contamination."
On May 27, 2022, the FDA, CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced that they are investigating 27 outbreak-associated cases of hepatitis A in Canada and the United States. The agencies will consider these hepatitis A illnesses linked to organic strawberries, branded as FreshKampo and HEB, and purchased between March 5, 2022, and April 25, 2022.
Victims of hepatitis A outbreak in the United States and Canada
- Total Illnesses: United States, 17; Canada, 10
- Hospitalizations: United States, 12; Canada, 4
- Illness onset dates range from March 28-April 30, 2022
- States with Cases: California (15), Minnesota (1), North Dakota (1)
- Provinces with Cases: Alberta (4) and Saskatchewan (6)