Dept of Agriculture’s take on frozen berries

Everyone’s talking about it.  Frozen berries from China arriving on our shores with the possible contamination with Hepatitis A. We all want to scrub our teeth thoroughly and, of course, wonder how this could happen.

The Department of Agriculture, who has our backs when it comes to verifying that everything is A OK with imported goods, have recently released the following statement in relation to this discovery:

The Department of Agriculture is aware of a suspected link between imported frozen berries and cases of hepatitis A in New South Wales and Victoria.

The Department of Agriculture takes its role in the imported food safety system seriously.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) administers the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the code).

The Department of Agriculture’s Imported Food Inspection Scheme operates a risk-based border inspection scheme to test imported food in line with the code.

FSANZ provide imported food risk assessment advice to the department, identifying which imported foods are considered a high risk to human health. The department classifies these foods as risk foods and determines which tests should be applied to those foods based on the FSANZ advice.

All other imported food products are considered ‘surveillance foods’—this includes frozen berries.

Surveillance foods are tested at a rate of 5 per cent of all consignments for 49 agricultural chemical residues, as well as packaging and labelling requirements.

Where non-compliance* is proven, the Department of Agriculture will inspect consignments of that product at a rate of 100 per cent until a good compliance record is re-established.

State and territory health departments are responsible for managing post-border safety incidents.

The Department of Agriculture will continue to monitor the current incident and assist other agencies as required. Following the completion of the investigation, the outcomes will be used to review the current border inspection arrangements.

The Department of Agriculture understands and shares the community’s concerns for the welfare of the individuals involved and wishes them a quick recovery.

* This statement was updated on 17.2.15 to better reflect the inspection scheme.​

Whilst we are sure that this contamination is an isolated incident, a lot of us will be switching to bananas in our smoothies from now onwards!

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The consumer recall is for:

  • Nanna’s Raspberries, 1kg packs, with best before dates until 15/09/16
  • Nanna’s Mixed Berries 1kg packs, with best before dates until 22/11/16
  • Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g, with best before dates until 10/12/17
  • Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 500g, with best before dates until 06/10/17