They're not berry happy in New Zealand

Thursday, 10 December, 2015

Echoing Australia’s experience in early 2015, New Zealand authorities have issued a recall of a frozen berry product, after it was suspected to be linked to four cases of Hepatitis A. That number may yet rise to five, as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been notified of another patient who was briefly hospitalised in early December.

The MPI has issued a warning of a potential risk associated with imported frozen berries, in particular Fruzio Mixed Berries, which were recalled on 3 December. The following day, FSL Foods voluntarily recalled additional products Fruzio IQF Strawberry 1 kg, Fruzio IQF Blackberry 1 kg and Fruzio IQF 3 Mixed Berry 1 kg (blackberries, strawberries and blueberries).

The MPI has instituted a surveillance program, including additional testing, focused on imported frozen berries, including stocks already held by New Zealand food companies. Investigations are continuing into the genetic make-up of the virus and an examination of the supply chain.

The Ministry’s director of plants, food and environment, Peter Thomson, said that investigations to date have not revealed a specific cause, but there is an association with consuming imported frozen berries, and that recent outbreaks in other countries also suggest the link.

Thomson thanked FSL Foods for its cooperation. “We understand that this has been difficult for FSL Foods. We would like to again thank FSL Foods for their full cooperation in this recall. The precaution they are exercising in voluntarily expanding the scope of the recall is acknowledged by MPI.”

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