Frozen imported berries linked to Hepatitis A outbreak
AN outbreak of Hepatitis A has been linked to eating imported frozen berries.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland said it is investigating a food poisoning outbreak and all indications were pointing towards frozen imported berries as the source.
Some 10 people have become ill with Hepatitis A in Ireland recently, and half of these cases have been linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries.
The FSAI said there is no evidence to suggest that fresh Irish or imported berries are implicated.
It is urging consumers and food businesses to boil imported frozen berries for at least one minute before eating to destroy the virus.
FSAI chief executive Prof Alan Reilly said frozen imported berries were widely used in the food catering sector for use in cooked and ready-to-eat dishes, so businesses needed to take particular care to boil them before use.
"The source of this outbreak is not known yet, but all indications are pointing towards imported frozen berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries and strawberries," he said.
Hepatitis A is a disease which can have mild to severe symptoms, with elderly people more likely to be worse hit.
Symptoms include fever, nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain and jaundice and can last from one week to several months.
There has been an outbreak of an identical strain of Hepatitis A virus in Italy which is also linked to imported frozen berries.
Scandinavian countries are also dealing with an outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to imported frozen berries but this is of a different strain of the virus.