Imported frozen berries linked to Hep A outbreak in NZ

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd December 2015

BerriesNew Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued a statement warning of a potential Hepatitis A risk associated with imported frozen berries.


The warning comes after four diagnoses of Hepatitis A thought to be linked to packaged imported frozen berries.


The MPI says it has established a surveillance program and is conducting testing.


“Our investigations to date have not revealed a specific cause, but there is an association with consuming imported frozen berries. Recent outbreaks in other countries also suggest this link,” the MPI said in a statement issued on the 2 December 2016.


“We are giving a very high priority to instigating a testing programme that will provide increased surveillance of imported frozen berries. This will include previously imported stocks held by food companies here,” the statement said.


MPI issues warnings


“In the meantime the general advice about food safety applies. People should wash their hands before eating and preparing food. Anyone who is concerned should briefly boil any frozen berries before eating them, or ensure cooking exceeds 85 degrees Celsius for one minute,” the statement continued.


“Elderly persons and those with chronic liver damage should avoid frozen berries that have not been heat treated,” said the statement.


The MPI has further stated that if any members of the public are concerned about a potential risk to their health they should visit their medical practitioner or contact the Ministry of Health’s Healthline.