Pams frozen berries recalled after 7 hospitalised with Hep A

Source: 1News

Six Pams-brand frozen berry products have been recalled across the country due to a potential link to recent cases of Hepatitis A.

New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle said the recall is precautionary as an investigation into the source of several community cases of the virus continues.

The recall affects the following Pams products:

  • Frozen Mixed Berries 500g,
  • Frozen Two Berry Mix 1kg,
  • Frozen Two Berry Mix 750g,
  • Frozen Smoothie Berry Mix 500g,
  • Raspberries 500g
  • and Raspberries 350g.

Arbuckle said there are currently twelve cases of Hepititis A that have been linked to the consumption of frozen berries.

“So far, eight of the 12 cases are linked by genetic sequencing, meaning they were likely exposed to the same source of the virus," he said.

"Seven of the 12 cases have been hospitalised."

The products are being removed from New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square stores nationwide, and from Trents and Raeward Fresh stores in the South Island, said Arbuckle.

Kiwis are being urged to check their freezers to see if they have any of the recalled products.

NZFS has advised anyone with these products to boil the berries prior to consumption and ensure they are cooked through to kill the virus. They also emphasised the importance of washing hands before eating and preparing food.

Consumers can also receive a full refund for the berries if they return the product to the place of purchase.

The products under recall were identified through the course of NZFS’s ongoing investigation, Arbuckle said.

“We know the virus in New Zealand is a genetic match to a virus which caused illness in Sweden in 2020 and 2021. That illness had a possible link to frozen berries from Serbia.

“The recalled products contain berries from Serbia and were reported as eaten by most of the people who have become sick.

“We were able to identify the recalled products by matching the onset of the illness with the food history reported by the cases.”

A warning was issued last month after three cases of Hepatitis A were linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.

Symptoms include flu-like symptoms, jaundice, fatigue and joint pain, according to Health Navigator NZ.

While Hepatitis A is relatively rare in New Zealand, imported frozen berries were linked to an outbreak of the disease in 2015.