Advice for consumers in relation to frozen, imported berries and outbreaks of Norovirus and Hepatitis A

21 May, 2015. safefood would like to advise consumers that as a precaution, all frozen imported berries should be boiled for at least one minute before consumption.

This is as a result of ongoing investigations by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) into recent outbreaks of Norovirus and the Hepatitis A virus in Sweden and Australia respectively, where 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.