The hepatitis A outbreak, linked to Egyptian frozen strawberries, has sickened at least 134 people in the U.S., according to the FDA. Now the FDA has issued an import alert, banning frozen strawberries from one Egyptian facility, although a portion of the alert with details about the ban is redacted. 

The only portion in the “notes” field on the alert that isn’t blacked out is the phrase “Problem(s): Hepatitis A (1b).” The facility is the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing. The “1b” denotes the strain of hepatitis A. A notice posted on the Virginia Department of Health website in August 2016 states that testing on the patients has confirmed that the outbreak strain of hepatitis A is similar to one in the past caused by frozen strawberries from Egypt.

The charges in the import alert, state “The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to Section 801(a)(3) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) in that such article appears to have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health. [Adulteration, Section 402(a)(4) of the Act].” OASIS Charge Code: MFR INJ; and “The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to Section 801(a)(1) of the Act in that it appears to have been manufactured, processed, or packed under insanitary conditions.” OASIS Charge Code: MFR INSAN.

The berries are subject to detention without physical examination (DWPE) under this import alert. The import alert is #99-35 and was published on October 19, 2016.

To be removed from the red list, the facility has to submit documentation to the FDA demonstrating that the facility has made all “relevant corrections to overcome the appearance of adulteration.”