Written by by Marnie Hunter, CNN
Starbucks has recalled a chain of products in eight countries due to possible presence of hepatitis A contamination, adding to a series of foodborne illnesses over the past several months.
The outbreak, which started in the Philippines and has spread to Japan, includes multiple bakery items and is associated with the Starbucks stores in those countries, the company said in a statement.
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 people have fallen ill with symptoms including fever, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.
“We are sincerely sorry for the health complications suffered by our customers,” Jasmine Duarte, chief executive of Starbucks Japan, said in a statement.
The outbreak is reportedly linked to a bakery stand, which is no longer operational.
CNN’s Joe Sutton has followed this story in the Philippines, where a Starbucks in Manila was being shut this week. Since the outbreak began, as many as 100 people — including about 30 children — have become ill, and local officials said that has affected their businesses.
CNN is not publishing the name of the company, located in Manila’s Southern Bay Area, because the outbreak has not been confirmed.
The Starbucks on Duarte was temporarily closed over the incident. “The store will remain closed until it is safe for customers and employees to come back,” spokeswoman Sabrina Harden told CNN by email.
Public health officials in the Philippines suspected a bakery stand inside the Starbucks had a bad sanitary situation, said Dr. Ma. Reymundo Sambanan, a public health official.
“This bread has been re-sold so many times,” he said.
Hepatitis A is an acute liver infection that can lead to serious liver illness. It is most common in young people and in patients who live or work in crowded settings, including people who donate blood.
It’s most commonly spread by contaminated food or water and can also be contracted through sexual contact.
Hepatitis A can be easily prevented by washing hands regularly with soap and warm water, according to the CDC.