Advice for consumers in relation to Hepatitis A outbreak and frozen, imported berries.

Friday 19 July, 2013. safefood would like to advise consumers that as a precaution, frozen, imported berries such as blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants, blackberries and strawberries should be boiled for at least one minute before consumption.

This is as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) into an outbreak of the Hepatitis A virus, where half the cases have been linked to consumption of these products. Boiling these products will destroy the virus if it is present. As a general rule, all berries, fresh fruit and vegetables should be washed if being eaten uncooked.

Based on information to date, there is no evidence to suggest that fresh berries from the island of Ireland or fresh imported varieties are implicated.

Hepatitis A is a disease that can be relatively mild lasting 1-2 weeks or more severe lasting months. Severity of symptoms tends to increase with age. The most common symptoms are fever, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue and abdominal pain, followed within a few days by jaundice. The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of illness) ranges from 15 to 50 days, the average being 28 days.

If you think you are suffering from food poisoning, you should contact your GP or health professional.

Further details are available on the FSAI website and safefood will continue to monitor the situation.

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