FSL Foods’ Fruzio frozen berries, which are imported from China, have been recalled as part of a Hepatitis A scare. At time of publication, four people in New Zealand were found to be ill with the virus.
A product recall notice for Fruzio Mixed Berries was issued after a warning about the link between the virus and imported frozen berries. However, authorities say further recalls of frozen berry products can’t be ruled. The Fruzio berries are sold in 1kg and 500 gram bags.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said there was a “potential risk” of Hepatitis A being associated with eating imported berries. MPI director of plants, food and environment Peter Thomson said investigations had not yet revealed a specific cause. “But there is an association with consuming imported frozen berries. Recent outbreaks in other countries also suggest this link.”
The Ministry has instituted a surveillance programme, including additional testing, focussed on imported frozen berries. “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,” Thomson said.
“This is an evolving and complex situation and we were able to reach this conclusion today because of new genetic evidence about the virus and a continuing examination of the supply chain.”
If in doubt, frozen berries should be briefly boiled before eating or cooked at over 85 degrees Celsius for one minute. The elderly and those with chronic liver damage should avoid imported frozen berries that have not been heat treated.
If you are concerned about potential health risks seek advice from your medical practitioner, or call the Ministry of Health Healthline – 0800 61 11 16.
If you are concerned about the safety of food products, contact the MPI consumer helpline (0800 00 83 33).
FSL Foods Ltd has decided to extend the recall voluntarily to several other Fruzio brand frozen berry products as they come from the same overseas source.