Category Archives: Hepatitis A

Research – How Does Hepatitis A Spread Through Food?

Food Poisoning News

In a developed country such as the United States, outbreaks of Hepatitis A (HAV) from contaminated food are not common but are still possible and have occurred in the past. Some outbreaks have been linked to thousands of cases. It can be difficult, however, to pinpoint the source of infection because of the late onset of symptoms especially when the victims are geographically scattered. A food product can become contaminated at any step during the process of harvesting, distribution, preparation, etc…  When the problem occurs at one of the early stages, say during production, this can lead to a wide-spread outbreak, such as recent outbreaks of HAV linked to imported pomegranates or HAV linked to imported strawberries.

However, most recorded HAV outbreaks in the United States have occurred at the point of sale when food is handled and served in a restaurant. While most food handlers with HAV do not transmit the virus because they practice proper personal hygiene, all an infected person has to do to spread the virus is touch food after failing to wash their hands. These “establishment” HAV outbreaks are usually in a single geographic location tied to a particular restaurant, like the relatively recent Burger King or Famous Anthony’s outbreaks.

USA – $14 million settlement reached in Famous Anthony’s Hepatitis A outbreak

Roanoke

A $14 million settlement has been reached in lawsuits filed by more than 40 people who claimed they or their loved ones were exposed to a deadly viral outbreak while dining at two Famous Anthony’s restaurants.

Details of the agreement — reached on behalf of four patrons who died and others who were sickened when an employee unknowingly spread hepatitis A — became public during a hearing late Thursday in Roanoke’s federal court

New Zealand – Check your freezer if you bought Pams frozen berries in the South Island

MPI

Anyone who bought Pams frozen Mixed Berries from 4 specific stores in the South Island is urged to check whether they are part of a batch that has been recalled due to a possible risk of hepatitis A associated with frozen berries sourced from Serbia.

New Zealand Food Safety is supporting Foodstuffs South Island in the recall of a specific batch of Pams brand Mixed Berries with a best before date of 14/08/2024. The product was only available for sale from these stores on Saturday, 14 January 2023.

“Foodstuffs South Island Hornby Distribution Centre, in error, released 478 bags of Pams Mixed Berries following the previous recall on 4 October 2022,” said New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle.

Frozen berries recalled as a precaution while investigation into source of Hepatitis A continues

“Foodstuffs South Island has identified and removed most of those bags before consumers were able to buy them. However six bags have already been sold and another four are unaccounted for. So we are urging consumers who bought frozen berries from New World Ashburton, Three Parks New World in Wanaka, Pak‘nSave Hornby and Pak‘nSave Wainoni in Christchurch to check their freezers for the recalled product.

“Consumers, especially those with chronic liver damage, the elderly and pregnant people, should not eat frozen berries raw. Bringing them to the boil will make them safe to eat, or they can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.”

If you have consumed any of this product and are concerned for your health, contact your health professional, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Today’s recall affects the following product released in error following the recall on 4 October 2022:

  • pams brand Mixed Berries (500g) with a Best Before of 14/08/2024

The product was potentially available in the following South Island stores:

  • ashburton New World
  • hornby Pak’nSave
  • 3 Parks New World, Wanaka
  • wainoni Pak’nSave, Christchurch

“In the current hepatitis A outbreak, case numbers have steadily declined, and the Ministry of Health reported on 12 January 2023 that there were 3 new cases, bringing the total cases to 35,” Mr Arbuckle said.

“New Zealand Food Safety is disappointed to be informed of this error given the hepatitis A outbreak was under control.  We will investigate this error and ensure Foodstuffs South Island put in place appropriate measures to prevent a reoccurrence.”

Up-to-date details of the recall are available on our food recall page.

New Zealand – Pams Brand Frozen Berries – Hepatitis A

MPI

15 January 2023: Foodstuffs Own Brands Ltd is recalling a specific batch of Pams brand Mixed Berries due to a possible link of Hepatitis A associated with frozen berries sourced from Serbia. The Mixed Berries were released from Foodstuffs South Island Hornby Distribution Centre in error following the recall on 4 October 2022.

4 October 2022: Foodstuffs Own Brands Ltd is recalling all batches and all dates of its Pams brand Mixed Berries, Two Berry Mix, Smoothie Berry Mix, and Raspberries as a precaution due to a possible link of Hepatitis A associated with frozen berries sourced from Serbia.

The product incorrectly released was only available in Foodstuffs (Pak’n Save, Four Square and New World) South Island on 14 January 2023. Product with a best before date of 14/08/2024 is affected by this update however, all products in this notice are subject to the recall below.

 

    

         

Product type

Frozen berries

Name of product (size)

Pams brand Mixed Berries 500g
Pams brand Two Berry Mix 1kg
Pams brand Two Berry Mix 750g
Pams brand Smoothie Berry Mix 500g
Pams brand Raspberries 500g
Pams brand Raspberries 350g

Batch marking

All batches

Date making

All dates

Package size and description

The products are sold in various sizes in plastic bags.

Distribution

The products are imported.

The products are sold at Trents Wholesale and Raeward Fresh stores throughout the South Island and in Pak’n Save, New World and Four Square stores throughout New Zealand.

The products have not been re-exported.

Point of sale notice for retailers

If you are a retailer of the products in this recall, download a copy of the point of sale notice. You need to display it in your store for one month.

Point of sale notice – Foodstuffs Own Brands [PDF, 223 KB]

You can also download and display a copy of the Making berries safe to eat poster, providing guidance to consumers.

Making berries safe to eat poster [PDF, 434 KB]

Consumer advice

New Zealand Food Safety’s advice to consumers is to:

  • Briefly boil frozen berries before eating them, or if you have a thermometer at home, ensure cooking temperatures exceed 85 degrees Celsius for 1 minute. Heated berries can be safely refrozen for later use.
  • If you microwave berries, you should stir half-way through the cooking process to make sure they are cooked through. Microwave’s settings will vary, the important thing is to ensure the berries reach boiling.
  • Wash your hands before eating and preparing food.

Until and unless a definitive source is identified, this advice applies to all frozen berry products.

There have been reports of illness in New Zealand. If you have consumed any of these products and have any concerns about your health, seek medical advice.

Alternatively, customers can return the products to their retailer for a full refund.

Hepatitis A update

Information on the cases is available through the following link to the Ministry of Health website.

Hepatitis A and frozen berries − Ministry of Health  

Who to contact

If you have questions, contact Foodstuffs Own Brands Ltd:

  • Phone: 0800 24 51 14
  • Address: 35 Landing Drive, Mangere, Auckland.

France – Hepatitis A – Information

Sante Publique

The hepatitis A virus is most often transmitted by the hands, or by ingesting food or water contaminated with feces. Its prevention is based on hygiene and vaccination.

Our missions

  • Monitor the epidemiological evolution of hepatitis A
  • Quickly detect clusters or outbreaks
  • Allow to adapt preventive measures 
  • Inform healthcare professionals

Videos, infographics, key figures, expert interviews… find here the latest news and key information on hepatitis A at the link above

Research – Surveillance of Human Cases of Salmonellosis, Campylobacteriosis, Listeriosis, and Hepatitis A in Campania (Southern Italy): Seven-Year Monitoring (2013–2019)

MDPI

Abstract

Foodborne infections cause illness and death every year worldwide. The aim of this study was to describe trends in 2013–2019 in the occurrence of human cases of salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis, listeriosis, and hepatitis A in the Campania region. Human case data were provided by the National Surveillance System of disease and were grouped by year, province, age group, and sex. Moreover, the number of people hospitalized was recorded. In the Campania region, the total number of confirmed human cases for the diseases investigated was 1924, with Hepatitis A and the Salmonellosis as the first most reported (1009 and 825 cases, respectively). The incidence rates of gastroenteritis under study were lower than those in Italy and European Union in the same period, with the exception of Hepatitis A whose incidence was higher than that recorded in Italy. Data on hospitalizations pointed out the onset of severe forms of infection also for listeriosis and campylobacteriosis, whose incidence was very low (27 and 63 cases, respectively). Unfortunately, no information on the foods implicated is available. Although probably underestimated, gastroenteritis due to foodborne agents still represents a burden in Campania, and continuous monitoring and implementation of the currently available regional surveillance system is required.

USA – FDA Warning Letter – Bainbridge Beverage West, LLC- Microbial Risk

FDA

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected your juice manufacturing facility, located at 2335 Del Monte Street, West Sacramento, CA 95691 on June 9, 10, 22, 24, and 29, 2022. We found that you have serious violations of the FDA’s juice Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 120 (21 CFR Part 120). In accordance with 21 CFR 120.9, failure of a processor to have and implement a HACCP plan that complies with the requirements of 21 CFR Part 120 renders the juice products adulterated within the meaning of Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 342(a)(4)]. Accordingly, your juice products are adulterated in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health. You may find the Act, FDA’s juice HACCP regulations and the Juice HACCP Hazards and Controls Guidance through links in FDA’s home page at www.fda.gov.External Link Disclaimer

To date, the agency has not received a written response from your firm regarding the violations noted on the Form FDA-483, Inspectional Observations, which was issued to your firm at the conclusion of the inspection.

Research – Hepatitis A – Annual Epidemiological Report for 2021

ECDC

In 2021, 30 EU/EEA countries reported 3 864 cases of hepatitis A (Table 1). The EU/EEA notification rate was 0.9 cases per 100 000 population. In 2021, both the lowest number of reported cases and the lowest notification rate were reported since the beginning of EU-level hepatitis A surveillance in 2007. The total number of hepatitis A cases reported in EU/EEA countries in 2021 represented a decrease of 65.7% and 12.3% compared to 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Click to access HEPA_AER_2021.pdf

Research – Lowest number of recorded Hepatitis A cases, five other food and waterborne diseases rising towards pre-pandemic levels

ECDC

Hepatitis A cases in 2021 were at their lowest levels since EU-level hepatitis A surveillance began in 2007, while five other food and waterborne diseases are rising towards pre-pandemic levels. The information is revealed in the Annual Epidemiological Report 2021, of which six chapters are published today by ECDC.

The chapters cover diseases causing  the highest number of  food- and waterborne infections in the EU/EEA, namely campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, yersiniosis, shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli infection, listeriosis, and hepatitis A.  

In the EU/EEA, the hepatitis A notification rate was exceptionally low in 2021, with 0.92 cases per 100 000 population, compared to 2.2 in 2019. This can be attributed primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, including reduced international travel.  

However, a sharp decline in the trend of hepatitis A cases has also been evident in the EU/EEA over the last five years. Additional factors contributing to this may be the heightened awareness of hepatitis A transmission, increased preventive measures such as practising good hygiene and increased vaccine uptake among at-risk groups. Increased natural immunity in at-risk groups following a large multi-country outbreak occurring in 2017 and 2018 may also be of importance.  

In 2020, the number of cases of campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, the two most commonly reported gastrointestinal infections in the EU/EEA, decreased notably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike hepatitis A, these appeared to increase in 2021, but the levels are still well below those of the pre-pandemic years. This could partly be an effect of reduced travel as travel-related infections were at their lowest in 2021. 

Listeriosis, shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli infections and yersiniosis trends decreased less notably in 2020 and the number of cases returned to the pre-pandemic levels in 2021. This might be due to the more severe symptoms caused particularly by listeriosis and shigatoxigenic Escherichia coli infections, which are then more likely to be diagnosed and reported. Additionally, many of the cases are acquired  within the EU/EEA, and the numbers are not as affected by international travel restrictions.  

In 2021, although the COVID-19 pandemic was still ongoing, the gradual reduction of COVID-19 restriction measures, along with the return to normal daily life (social events, doctor’s visits, travel), the reopening of bars, restaurants and catering facilities (i.e. schools, workplaces), may explain the increase in cases of the five food- and waterborne diseases.   

29 sickened in US and Canada from Mexico Strawberries – Hepatitis A

Food Poison Journal

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Food Safety Agency investigated an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to imported fresh organic strawberries. 

These potentially contaminated fresh organic strawberries were imported from Baja California, a state in northern Mexico, and branded as FreshKampo and HEB by a common supplier; they were purchased in the United States during March 5, 2022, through April 15, 2022. 

Traceback investigations showed that outbreak-associated cases in California and Minnesota purchased FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries prior to becoming ill. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also investigated an outbreak of hepatitis A; imported FreshKampo brand fresh organic strawberries were identified as the likely source of that outbreak.