Giving Compass’ Take:
• The New Food Economy reports that the Food and Drug Administration will begin to test frozen berries for viruses and pathogens that can survive cold temperatures, specifically hepatitis A and norovirus.
• What other frozen foods are susceptible to carrying foreign pathogens? How will the food industry respond to taking more serious health measures?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday announced that it has begun spot testing frozen berries for hepatitis A and norovirus. The testing will last 18 months and commenced in November of last year.
The idea is that this method will reveal overlooked patterns in pathogen transmission.
Frozen berries were implicated in just four outbreaks in the United States between 1997 and 2016. Three hepatitis A outbreaks caused 405 illnesses and 53 hospitalizations, and one norovirus outbreak resulted in 136 illnesses. Europe saw a widespread hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen berries about five years ago that sickened 1,500 people. These viruses were likely spread through contaminated water or via infected workers who hadn’t washed their hands properly. Freezing doesn’t typically kill hepatitis A or norovirus. Cooking frozen berries would eliminate the risk, but many people eat them raw.
Read the full article on testing berries for viruses that can live in the cold by H. Claire Brown at The New Food Economy.
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