Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira recommends thorough heating of foreign frozen raspberries


<p>Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira recommends thorough heating of foreign frozen raspberries New norovirus epidemics have occurred again in southern Finland at the beginning of October. Polish frozen raspberries are suspected to have caused the epidemics. Viral analyses of the raspberries have been started and the suspected lot has been withdrawn from the market. Norovirus epidemics occurred in different parts of the country also in May-June, and analyses confirmed Polish frozen raspberries to be the cause. Raspberries had been used in desserts and cakes without heating.</p>

Evira urges mass caterers, restaurants, catering firms and consumers to check the origin of frozen raspberries and to only use foreign raspberries after adequate heating in order to avoid food poisoning. Frozen raspberries of foreign origin should be heated for at least two minutes at 90 degrees Centigrade.

The country of origin has to be indicated on the labelling of foods if the omission to do so could mislead the consumer. The country of origin should particularly be checked for foreign raspberries packed in Finland.

Viruses can gain access into the berries through e.g. contaminated irrigation water. The freezing process keeps the viruses alive and contagious. If the berries are used as such or only slightly heated after defrosting, the viruses are not destroyed.

Heating is also recommended for other frozen berries of foreign origin, if they are served to persons in risk groups, such as elderly people, children or persons with impaired resistance.
Norovirus causes stomach upset with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fever and various head and muscle pains are also possible. The symptoms can be very sudden and severe, but usually pass quite quickly (1-2 days). The virus is highly contagious through contact and aerosols, and affected persons can spread the disease further. The virus is excreted in faeces for several weeks after the diarrhea symptoms have passed, which makes stringent hand hygiene necessary to prevent the spreading of the virus.

For more information, please contact:
Taina Niskanen, Senior Officer, Evira, Hygiene Unit
tel. +358 (0) 2077 24318, +358 (0) 50 386 8421


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