The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), New Zealand, directed FSL Foods last week to recall all of their Fruzio Mixed Berries products from the market. An investigation by Ministry of Health and Environmental Science and Research (ESR) revealed a possible link between the spurt in Hepatitis A cases and consumption of the frozen berries. A fifth New Zealander has reportedly contracted Hepatitis A after consuming the berries in October. Hepatitis A has an incubation period of 15-50 days.

Mike Glover, Owner of FSL foods confirmed that his company has successfully implemented the Fruzio recall although an Auckland petrol station was still selling the berries five days after recall till Shelly Brady, BP New Zealand media spokesperson got informed about it and she took necessary steps to remove the product from the store’s shelves, reports

According to The Courier Mail, consumers have been warned of risks involved and have been instructed to throw away or return the Fruzio berries if they have them in their households. The Fruzio Mixed Berries include blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.

Hepatitis A symptoms include yellowing of eyes and skin in case of Jaundice, joint pain, dark urine, low fever, appetite loss, clay-coloured bowel movements, discomfort and abdominal pain near liver or just below rib cage on the right side, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. However, not everybody with Hepatitis A develops the symptoms. It is a food-borne disease. If someone who is infected handles food, it can spread to others.

Earlier this year, thirty-four people contracted the virus in six Australian states. Surprisingly, all of them consumed the same frozen mixed berries that were imported from China.

Peter Thomson, director of plant food and environment, MPI says that there is every reason to believe that the fifth case in New Zealand is the result of frozen berry consumption.

“The person ate the berries in late October and reported symptoms at the beginning of this month. The person was briefly hospitalised for observation, but released the same day,” Director Thomson said, reports New Zealand Herald.

He added that the next step would be to test the virus strain and confirm whether it is the same strain as in the other four cases reported. He assured that an extensive investigation and work programme is underway to check the spread of Hepatitis A from Fruzio frozen mixed berries.

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