Friday, September 22

Alert for hepatitis A virus in frozen forest fruits

The Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) has been informed through the European Food Alert Network (RASFF) of an alert for the presence of Hepatitis A Virus in the frozen FRUITBERRY MIX product of the ARDO brand in packaging of 1 and 2.5 kg from Belgium.

Where has it been distributed?

With the information available, there is no evidence in Spain of reported cases associated with this alert, despite the fact that the product has been distributed to Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, Castilla y León, Murcia, the Valencian Community and the Basque Country. People who have the indicated products at home are recommended not to consume them and return them to the point of purchase.

How are frozen fruits contaminated with hepatitis A?

It is not the first time that this type of alert has occurred, it already happened in 2019 with a pack of berries from Aldi in United States. Regarding the route of contamination, the hepatitis A virus is transmitted mainly by the fecal-oral route, that is, when an uninfected person ingests water or food contaminated by the feces of an infected person.

This is that an infected person who has not washed their hands properly after going to the bathroom and who handles food can transmit the virus to them. If the food is subsequently frozen, this fact helps preserve the virus for a longer time, especially if an inert gas is also used to replace the oxygen inside the bag, since the latter would destroy the virus.

How can it affect me if I consume this infected product?

According to the US food agency, the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), “hepatitis A is a contagious virus that can cause liver disease. The severity of a hepatitis A virus infection can range from mild illness lasting a few weeks to severe illness lasting several months.

“In rare cases, particularly users who have severe pre-existing illness or are immunosuppressed, hepatitis A infections can progress to liver failure. Illness usually occurs within 15 to 50 days after eating or drinking contaminated food or water.”

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, or pale stools. If we have consumed this product and suffer from the aforementioned symptoms, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room.

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