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FDA begins unannounced testing of frozen berries

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Federal officials have begun the unannounced testing of frozen berry samples as part of an effort to develop preventive controls against pathogens such as Hepatitis A and Norovirus. These two viruses caused outbreaks in recent years that sickened hundreds of people across the United States.

Ozone destroys many Viruses (including Hep A and Norovirus), Bacteria, Fungus and Mold spores by penetrating, collapsing, and destroying the cell wall of microorganisms.

Berries served by themselves or in a product, without a cooking kill step, are more dangerous in terms of food-borne pathogens than many other domestic and imported foods, according to the recent announcement from the Food and Drug Administration.

Results of the unannounced tests will be posted for public view on a quarterly basis. A final analysis is planned after the data is reviewed. 

“Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are delicate and may become contaminated with bacteria or viruses if handled by an infected worker who does not use appropriate hand hygiene, or if exposed to contaminated agricultural water or a contaminated surface, like a harvesting tote. Freezing preserves berries but generally does not kill viruses, which can survive at low temperatures.”.

If tests from the sampling program confirm Hepatitis A or norovirus in a sample, the FDA will notify the firm of the findings and work with the business owners to take appropriate action to protect the public health.  The U.S. agency may also take actions such as placing companies on import alerts; oversee recalls; or issuing public warnings.

See full article at Food Safety News <click here>