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Massive hep a scandal not due to frozen berries

April 16, 2015

Patties frozen berries, analysed in viral and bacterial testing run by the company, have come back negative for both the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) and E.coli. In a report releases by Patties, both recalled and non-recalled samples of Nanna’s berries showed no traces of the contaminators linked to the recent HAV outbreak scandal.

The company’s reputation seriously suffered after news of the apparent link between their berries and the HAV outbreak quickly spread around the world. The international import trade was also scrutinised as it was revealed that the berries had been grown in China.

Patties recalled not only various Nanna’s frozen berries but also frozen berry products made by their Creative Gourmet brand. The tests run by the company examined all non-recalled batches of frozen berries also in their Australian warehouses and too found no instances of HAV or E. coli contamination.

“Our microbiological and viral testing does not confirm any link between Nanna’s Mixed Berries and HAV,” said CEO of Patties Foods, Steven Chaur. “However, we are guided by the epidemiology provided by the DHHS and accordingly have taken proactive and collaborative measures to ensure public safety.”

Further testing carried out on berries

External testing ordered by Patties saw around 360 packets of different frozen berry products sent to various laboratories around the world. These tests have also reported no traces of HAV or E. coli. found on any of the sample berries.

The negative test results have since seen supermarkets begin restocking all but Mixed Berry products back onto their shelves. “Consumers have told us they want the Nanna’s range back on shelves, and we will keep working hard to ensure consumers can enjoy and trust our products,” according to Mr Chaur.

Widespread effects of the hepatitis scandal

Campaigns aimed at buying local sprang up around Australia in the wake of the HAV berry scandal. Reports earlier this month looked at a new Brisbane initiative, ‘Your Local Fruit Shop’, and its claims that consumers benefit from buying local produce. Creators of the campaign believe that not only will it help local farmers, but also knowing the origin of the food they buy is becoming increasingly important to consumers.

The full effects of the berry scandal are still being realised and the damage done to the Patties brand is no doubt enormous. Not only will the company’s sales have been greatly affected following the scandal, the public’s opinion of the brand will also have suffered.

It has been reported that 31 cases of HAV were linked to the berries however the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advises that there is now a low risk of any further cases emerging. This issue has once again highlighted the potential consequences of poor food safety not only for the public, but also for food businesses.