Nelson berries caught up in Hep A scare


A Nelson food company has recalled a line of its frozen berries after it was found to be at the centre of a Hepatitis A scare.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says it has made significant progress in its investigation of imported frozen berries associated with the increased risk from Hepatitis A.

“Today we have directed a specific company to recall a brand of imported frozen berries from shelves,” says MPI’s director plants food and environment Peter Thomson.

“The company is FSL Foods, and the brand being recalled is Fruzio Mixed Berries sold in 1kg and 500 gram bags. This product contains blackberries and strawberries.

“If you have this product at home it should be discarded.”

FSL is a Stoke based business and has co-operated fully with the recall, says MPI.

“Our investigation is ongoing and, at this stage, our advice concerning all imported frozen berries stays the same. We are not able to rule out further recalls.

He says it is “an evolving and complex situation” and they were able to reach this conclusion today because of new genetic evidence about the virus and a continuing examination of the supply chain.

“In the meantime the general advice about food safety applies. People should wash their hands before eating and preparing food. Anyone who is concerned should briefly boil any frozen berries before eating them, or ensure cooking exceeds 85 degrees Celsius for one minute.

“Elderly persons and those with chronic liver damage should avoid imported frozen berries that have not been heat treated.

“If you are concerned about a potential risk to your health, or the health of others, you should seek advice from your medical practitioner, or call the Ministry of Health’s Healthline – 0800 61 11 16.

“If you are concerned about the safety of food products, contact the MPI consumer helpline (0800 00 83 33).”