Research – Prevalence of Foodborne Viruses in Berries Harvested in Canada



It is known that the transmission of different foodborne viruses can occur either via discharge of contaminated water close to the production environment or via close contact with animal feces. Cranberries are intimately associated with water throughout their production cycle, and blueberries grow close to the ground which could lead to contact with wildlife. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of human norovirus (HuNoV GI and GII), hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis E virus (HEV) in two berries produced commercially in Canada. The detection of HuNoV and HAV on RTE cranberries and of HEV on wild blueberries was evaluated using the ISO method 15216-1:2017. Only 3 of 234 cranberry samples tested positive for HuNoV GI (3.6, 7.4, 5.3 genome copies/g, respectively) and all were negative for HuNoV GII and HAV. PMA pre-treatment and sequencing confirmed the absence of potential intact HuNoV GI particles on cranberries. None of the 150 blueberry samples tested positive for HEV. Overall, the prevalence of foodborne viruses in RTE cranberries and wild blueberries harvested in Canada is low, making these products relatively safe for consumers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s