Hepatitis A found in Save-On-Foods pineapple cups

Anyone who bought ready-to-go pineapple cups from the Western Family brand recently are being advised by Alberta Health Services to check the date of production after the hepatitus A virus was found in a sample produced Aug. 12.

The fruit cups may have been sold starting Aug. 12 with a best-before date of Aug. 19.

AHS said the cups were distributed to 58 Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods and PriceSmart Foods stores in Alberta and B.C. 

In Alberta, the product was sold at 14 Save-On-Foods in the Edmonton area — including stores in Spruce Grove, Sherwood Park and St. Albert. They were also sold at a Save-On-Foods in Lethbridge, one in Calgary, three stores in Fort McMurray and one in Grande Prairie. 

Consumers who have the product should throw it out. 

How hepatitis A is spread

Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and beverages or through direct contact with an infected person. 

Dr. Albert De Villiers, lead medical officer of health with AHS, said there are a few ways the virus may have entered the product. 

“The pineapple, the actual product, can be contaminated by the way they actually produce it, or spray stuff on it or maybe not cleaning it properly before they start cutting it,” De Villiers said Saturday.

He also said the product could have been contaminated if the person cutting the fruit had hepatitis A and didn’t wear gloves or wash their hands.

The risk of infection is considered low and no illness has been reported, AHS said.

Anyone who thinks they may have eaten the pineapple is encouraged to call 811 to speak to a Health Link representative. 

Hepatitis A contamination in commercial products is rare, De Villiers added. But he said the best defence is prevention.

Anyone with symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue and fever, can contact AHS to get a vaccination. 

“If you take the vaccine within 14 days of exposure, it can actually stop the disease as well,” De Villiers said.

The virus attacks the liver and people can get sick within 15 to 50 days after exposure, but usually within 28 to 30 days.

People can be infectious one to two weeks before symptoms appear and for at least one week after getting sick.

Save-On-Foods stores listed in the advisory

  • 401 Highlands Blvd West, Lethbridge.
  • 155 Walden Gate S.E., Calgary.
  • 360 Mayfield Common N.W., Edmonton.
  • 8124 – 112th Avenue, Edmonton.
  • 1120-91 Street S.W., Edmonton.
  • 11180 Ellerslie Road S.W., Edmonton.
  • 2390 – 24th Street N.W., Edmonton.
  • 9510-160 Ave N.W., Edmonton.
  • 10368 78th Avenue N.W, Edmonton.
  • 6260 – 199 Street N.W., Edmonton.
  • Suite 100-121 Century Crossing, Spruce Grove.
  • 740 St. Albert Trail, St. Albert.
  • #500 – 140 St. Albert Trail, St. Albert.
  • 81 Fir Street, Sherwood Park.
  • 60 Broadway Boulevard, Sherwood Park.
  • #10 – 4005 Clover Bar Road, Sherwood Park.
  • 10819 – 106th Avenue, Grande Prairie.
  • #106 – 100 Riverstone Ridge, Fort McMurray.
  • 131 Signal Road, Fort McMurray.
  • 8406 Franklin Avenue, Fort McMurray.

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