The maker of Creative Gourmet mixed berries has recalled a “relatively small batch” of its 300g product sold in independent supermarkets across Australia after a packet sold in Victoria tested positive to hepatitis A.
The recall comes two years on from a national outbreak of the virus among people who consumed frozen berries.
Entyce Food Ingredients said it was notified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that one unopened pack had contained the virus.
“Consumers should be confident that the recalled batch of Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g is an isolated one that is no longer available on supermarket shelves,” it said in a statement.
“The recall affects less than one per cent of the Creative Gourmet fruit sold annually in Australia. No other batches of Creative Gourmet products are affected.”
The product was being sold in independent supermarkets including IGA, Foodworks, Foodland, SPAR and Supabarn with the batch number PP150118.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) said the product could be linked to three cases of the virus.
In 2015 dozens of people contracted Hepatitis A after eating frozen berries made by the Nanna and Creative Gourmet brands, then-owned by Patties Foods.
The berries were imported from China but packaged in Australia. Patties later sold Creative Gourmet to Entyce Food Ingredients.
The company said the testing was undertaken after DHHS was notified about a small number of reported cases of hepatitis A in Australia.
FSANZ said it was still conducting tests to determine the source but a recall was made as a precaution.
It said consumers should not be concerned about consuming or buying any other frozen berry products.
“The berries in question were imported in early 2015 and there is no evidence of cases of hepatitis A associated with imported berries since border controls were put in place in February 2015,” it said.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include abdominal pain, nausea, fever and chills and yellow skin or eyes.
FSANZ said while symptoms were not usually severe, it could become serious for people with supressed immune systems or other health conditions that made them vulnerable.
Creative Gourmet ‘phasing out’ berries from China
The company said the berries in the affected batch were sourced from China and Canada, but moved to address fears about a repeat of the outbreak two years ago.
“Since acquiring the Creative Gourmet brand in December 2015, we have been phasing out the sourcing of any berries from China for our Creative Gourmet brand, recognising a level of concern that exists in the minds of the community,” it said.
“Currently over 95 per cent of the fruit used in the Creative Gourmet brand is sourced from Canada, Chile, Brazil and Vietnam.
“Entyce Food Ingredients undertakes a strict regime of testing to ensure the safety of the foods we sell.
“This batch underwent extensive testing by independent accredited laboratories — all of which cleared the batch for traces of hepatitis A, pesticides and other microbiologicals such as E.coli and coliforms.”
Customers who bought this batch of berries can take the product back to the shop of purchase for a full refund.