The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Import Alert that effectively bans the importation of frozen strawberries produced by an Egyptian food producer.
Issued in mid-October, the Import Alert applies to frozen strawberries produced by the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing. According to the Alert, the strawberries appear “to have been manufactured, processed or packed under insanitary conditions.” Accordingly, U.S. customs and border officials are authorised to detain the product without physical examination, thereby refusing the product’s admission or distribution into the U.S.
The Alert specifically cites “Hepatitis A” as the “problem” with the frozen strawberries. An outbreak of Hepatitis A recently sickened more than 100 people in nine U.S. states who had patronised Tropical Smoothie Café restaurants, but there is no confirmed link between that outbreak and the banned Egyptian strawberries.
The FDA’s Import Alert in connection with the imported strawberries is available here.