The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has advised that it is currently investigating a food poisoning outbreak of the hepatitis A virus associated with the consumption of imported frozen berries.
As a precautionary measure, the FSAI is advising consumers to boil all imported frozen berries for at least 1 minute prior to eating. The FSAI states that 10 cases of Hepatitis A virus have been identified in Ireland and half of these cases have been linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries. There is no evidence at the moment to suggest that fresh Irish or fresh imported berries are implicated.
The FSAI has confirmed that there is currently an outbreak of the same strain of Hepatitis A virus in Italy as that identified in Ireland. This is also linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are similarly dealing with outbreaks of the Hepatitis A virus linked to imported frozen berries.
The FSAI has confirmed that the source of the outbreak is not known yet but the indications are pointing to imported frozen berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. As a precautionary measure all consumers have been advised to boil all imported frozen berries for at least 1 minute before eating them to destroy the virus. They have also reminded consumers to wash all fresh berries and other fruit and vegetable if eating them uncooked.
Speaking about the latest food safety announcement Liam Moloney Product Litigation Solicitor said today “Hepatitis A is a disease that can be relatively mild lasting 1-2 weeks or more severe in some cases lasting months. The severity of symptoms tend to increase with age but the most common symptoms are fever, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain. The incubation period ranges from 15-50 days. Any consumer who has consumer these foodstuffs and has become ill should immediately seek medical advice.”