USA – FDA now tests frozen berries for Norovirus and Hepatitis A

Food Dive Black_Butte_blackberry

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been sampling frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries and frozen blackberries for the presence of norovirus and hepatitis A since last November.
  • The agency noted four foodborne illness outbreaks between 1997 and 2016 were linked to frozen berries — three caused by hepatitis A and one by norovirus. The three hepatitis A outbreaks sickened 405 people and caused 53 hospitalizations, while the norovirus outbreak sickened 136, FDA said. Other illness outbreaks linked to frozen berries have occurred in Europe and elsewhere, the agency added.
  • The testing will last about 18 months, FDA said, and involves domestic samples in retail packaging from processors, distribution centers, warehouses, and retail locations. Samples of imported frozen berries will be gathered from ports of entry, importer warehouses and other storage facilities where foreign goods are cleared for entry into the U.S. The agency plans to test 2,000 samples and post quarterly results online.

 

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