Fruzio frozen berries recalled in Hepatitis A investigation

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fruzio Mixed Berry products recalled
Fruzio Mixed Berry products recalled

Related tags: Fruit

FSL Foods has recalled frozen berries imported from China as part of the investigation into four Hepatitis A cases in New Zealand.

Fruzio Mixed Berry 1kg and 500g (strawberries and blackberries), Fruzio IQF Strawberry 1kg, IQF Blackberry 1kg and IQF 3 Mixed Berry 1kg (blackberries, strawberries and blueberries) are affected.

The product is sold in PaK’n Save, New World, Four Square and Gilmours stores in New Zealand.

Products not tested positive

FSL Foods said the recall is because the frozen berries come from the same provinces in China that grew the fruit that was recalled in Australia earlier this year.

It added no Fruzio product has yet tested positive for Hepatitis A.

Affected products:

Fruzio Mixed Berry 1kg and 500g products with dates up to and including 7 October 2018.
Fruzio IQF Strawberry 1 kg bag all batches with dates up to and including 8 September 2018.
Fruzio IQF Blackberry 1 kg bag all batches with dates up to and including 8 September 2018.
Fruzio IQF 3 Mixed Berry 1 kg bag all batch dates up to and including 17 November 2018.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) told us​ New Zealand imports frozen berries from 26 countries and the genotype of the Hepatitis A associated with this outbreak is not the same as the one that caused the outbreaks in Australia.

The four confirmed cases were from the North Island of New Zealand and became ill in October and November.

The Ministry has started a surveillance programme, including additional testing, on imported frozen berries. Investigations have not implicated fresh berries.

Could be more recalls

Peter Thomson, MPI’s director plants food and environment, said the investigation is ongoing and it cannot rule out further recalls.

“We understand that this has been difficult for FSL Foods. The precaution they are exercising in voluntarily expanding the scope of the recall is acknowledged by MPI.

“If you have any of the named recalled products at home they should be discarded.”

Thomson said the advice about all other imported frozen berries stays the same.

“Our investigation is ongoing and, at this stage, our advice concerning all imported frozen berries stays the same,” ​he said.

“This is an evolving and complex situation and we were able to reach this conclusion because of new genetic evidence about the virus and a continuing examination of the supply chain.

“People should wash their hands before eating and preparing food. Anyone who is concerned should briefly boil any imported frozen berries before eating them, or ensure cooking exceeds 85 degrees Celsius for one minute.”

MPI will require mandatory testing of imported frozen berries in accredited laboratories offshore or at the New Zealand border.  

The requirement will expire in six months but will be reassessed before that.

Related topics: Markets, Food safety, Oceania

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