Hepatitis Scare On Imported Frozen Berries - NZ Officials Investigate

Publish Date
Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 7:54AM

The New Zealand Herald released an article last night to say that health authorities are investigating imported frozen berries after four people fell ill with the vomiting virus hepatitis A.

Peter Thomson, of the Ministry for Primary Industries said: "Our investigations to date have not revealed a specific cause, but there is an association with consuming frozen berries," 

"Recent outbreaks in other countries also suggest this link."

The ministry's director-general issued a statement last night warning of a "potential risk associated with imported frozen berries" following the four cases "thought to be linked to packaged imported frozen berries".

Mr Thomson, says the ministry is increasing surveillance of imported frozen berries, including starting a testing programme.

The ministry says: "Bringing frozen berries briefly to the boil will deal with any potential risk, as will cooking [that exceeds] 85 degrees Celsius for at least 1 minute. Washing frozen berries will not remove the risk."

Fresh berries are not implicated in the four cases of hepatitis A.

And there is no evidence to suggest a link with frozen berries used in commercially-prepared and packaged products sold with a shelf-life claim.

Hepatitis A virus is a waterborne and foodborne liver infection for which a vaccine is available. The disease is spread through contact with faeces of an infected person, such as through failure of an infected food handler to wash hands properly after using the toilet. After consuming the virus, it takes 15 to 50 days for symptoms to appear.

Hepatitis A symptoms include:

• Vomiting

• Fever

• Nausea

• Loss of appetite

• Jaundice (yellow skin)

• Dark urine

• Fatigue

• Abdominal pain


Source: NZ Herald