Results from testing have now confirmed that the fifth person, who recently contracted Hepatitis A, as reported last week, has the same strain of the virus as the other four people who fell sick with Hepatitis in late October and early November this year.
“All five people who have fallen sick with Hepatitis A have the same strain, and all five have consumed the Fruzio Mixed Berry product recalled earlier this month,” says MPI director plants food and environment Peter Thomson.
“Our investigation is still ongoing however and, although it is now looking less likely, we are still not ruling out the possibility of further recalls.
“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).”
Products under recall:
Late October – early November, 2015 – Four people reported getting sick with Hepatitis A.
Friday 20 November, 2015 – Ministry of Health informs MPI of a potential link between the 4 cases of Hepatitis A to consumption of food.
Monday 30 November, 2015 – MPI's investigation progresses to the point where it identifies a risk of Hepatitis A associated with imported frozen berries. MPI issues a statement advising consumers of the risk, and plans to increase its surveillance and testing of imported frozen berries.
Wednesday 2 December, 2015 – MPI institutes testing of imported frozen berries at the border as part of a wider surveillance programme. It continues investigations into the genetic makeup of the virus and an examination of the supply chain.
Thursday 3 December, 2015 – MPI receives new genetic evidence about the virus and a continued examination of the supply chain allows MPI to direct FSL Foods to recall its Fruzio Mixed Berries product.
Friday 4 December, 2015 – FSL Foods chooses to voluntarily recall further products to provide extra assurance to its customers.
Wednesday 9 December 2015 – A newly notified case of Hepatitis A is likely to be linked to the consumption of the Fruzio Mixed Berries product.