Frozen Berries Recalled Due to Hepatitis A Scare

Two leading brands of frozen mixed berries have been plucked from the shelves of Australian supermarkets after being linked to outbreaks of Hepatitis A.
Frozen Berries Recalled Due to Hepatitis A Scare
June 14, 2017

More than two years after dozens of people fell ill with Hepatitis A after consuming frozen berries produced by Creative Gourmet, the brand is once again issuing another nationwide recall for the same item.

The most recent recall is a result of at least four people falling ill with Hepatitis A after eating frozen berries from Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g packages. Whilst there is no conclusive evidence that these latest cases are related to the frozen berries, the incidents have prompted the organisation to issue a voluntary recall of over 48,000 packets of the product.

It appears that the latest recall is related to berries imported from China in 2015, prompting fears that the first issue wasn’t completely resolved.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have confirmed that it’s likely that the cases are linked

"These cases have an identical sequence [of hepatitis A] to that of the cases from the 2015 outbreak," says a spokesperson for the agency.

Stricter Controls

Since the outbreak in 2015, the Creative Gourmet brand has been sold from Patties to Entyce Food Ingredients. The company has confirmed that it’s been working since then to phase out imported berries from China.

"Since acquiring the Creative Gourmet brand in December 2015, we have been phasing out the sourcing of any berries from China for our Creative Gourmet brand, recognising a level of concern that exists in the minds of the community," it said.

"Currently over 95 per cent of the fruit used in the Creative Gourmet brand is sourced from Canada, Chile, Brazil and Vietnam.

"Entyce Food Ingredients undertakes a strict regime of testing to ensure the safety of the foods we sell.

"This batch underwent extensive testing by independent accredited laboratories — all of which cleared the batch for traces of hepatitis A, pesticides and other microbiologicals such as E.coli and coliforms."

FSANZ have also imposed stricter border controls on imported berries since the 2015 outbreak and have confirmed that consumers shouldn’t be concerned about purchasing frozen berries from other brands.

"The berries in question were imported in early 2015 and there is no evidence of cases of hepatitis A associated with imported berries since border controls were put in place in February 2015," it said.

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Hepatitis A is a viral disease often spread by people consuming food that has come into contact with the faecal matter of an infected person. Some of the most common symptoms include nausea, fever, abdominal pain, and yellow tones in the skin and eyes.

Hepatitis A can become a serious condition if contracted by a person with an immune-compromised system or high risk individuals such as the elderly or young children.

Affected Berries

The berries in question are marketed under the Creative Gourmet brand and sold in 300g bags. The recalled product was sold in independent supermarkets including IGA, Foodworks, Foodland, SPAR and Supabarn with the batch number PP150118, and a best before date of 15 January 2021.

If you suspect you have a bag of frozen berries that may be affected, return the product to the store where it was purchased from for a full refund.