Imported Frozen Berries Information
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued a statement advising of a potential risk associated with imported frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and boysenberries), following four human cases of Hepatitis A virus in New Zealand.
MPI have instituted a surveillance programme, including additional testing, focussed first on imported frozen berries. FreshChoice is committed to the health and safety of our customers.
- Verification testing is in place for all of our fresh, and frozen Select and Signature Range brand berries.
- Country of origin labelling information is provided on all Select and Signature Range frozen berries.
We have not received any recent complaints or reports of illness relating to any of our Select or Signature Range frozen berries.
FreshChoice Select and Signature Range Frozen berries
- Our first priority is always the health and safety of our customers and as part of the Woolworths Quality Assurance programme (WQA), all Select and Signature Range frozen berries are tested for a full range of chemical and microbiological contaminants, including salmonella, e-Coli and listeria. (e-Coli is a process hygiene indicator organism).
- All Select and Signature Range berries are sourced from New Zealand, Chile, Canada, USA, Argentina and the EU, depending on seasonal availability. We voluntarily provide country of origin labelling information on all Select and Signature Range frozen berries.
- The results of testing carried out throughout 2015 are compliant with internationally recognised testing criteria.
- We have not received any recent complaints or reports of illness relating to any of our Select or Signature Range frozen berries.
Branded frozen berry products available at FreshChoice
- The three suppliers of the frozen berry brands stocked in our stores have been contacted. They have provided assurances that they also undertake regular chemical and microbiological testing.
- This testing has taken place for a number of years. The suppliers have confirmed that the results of testing carried out in 2015 are compliant with internationally recognised testing criteria.
- The suppliers have stated that they have not received any recent complaints or reports of illness relating to any of their products sold at FreshChoice.
- MPI has advised us that customers should follow general food safety advice and wash their hands before eating and preparing food. If customers are concerned, they should briefly boil any imported frozen berries before eating them, or ensure cooking temperatures exceed 85 degrees Celsius for 1 minute.
- MPI has advised that elderly persons and those with chronic liver damage should avoid frozen berries that have not been heat treated.
- Customers who are concerned about a potential risk to their health, or the health of others, should seek advice from their medical practitioner, or call the Ministry of Health’s Healthline (0800 611 116).
- For more information visit www.mpi.govt.nz