Frozen mixed berries recalled across Australia over 'hepatitis A link'

Updated February 15, 2015 10:34:51

One-kilogram bags of Nanna's frozen mixed berries are being pulled off supermarket shelves across Australia because of potential hepatitis A contamination.

People who have bought the berries are advised not to eat them, a statement from Victorian packing company Patties Foods said.

The fruit can be returned to the place of purchase for a "full cash refund", the company added.

Stores are being advised and there will be advertisements in national newspapers on Monday.

The berries came from China and Chile and were packed at Patties Foods, which is based at Bairnsdale.

The company said the "voluntary recall" was in the interests of consumer safety and that the "health and wellbeing of consumers is paramount".

It said the "full national " recall was a precautionary measure following advice from the Victorian Health Department of potential hepatitis A contamination.

Concerned consumers can call the company on 1800 650 069.

No other Nanna's or Patties Foods products are affected by the recall.

The frozen mixed berries are sold mainly in Woolworths, Coles and IGA supermarkets.

Hepatitis A is spread when traces of faecal matter containing the virus contaminate hands, objects, water or food.

Berries the 'only link' between cases of hepatitis A

Dr Rosemary Lester, Victoria's chief health officer, said frozen berries had been implicated in past outbreaks of hepatitis A.

"Hepatitis A virus infection is uncommon and normally associated with travel to countries affected by endemic hepatitis A," she said.

"The only common link between the cases is consumption of this product. There is no overseas travel or common restaurant exposure.

"Sampling of the product will be undertaken to identify the virus but it is difficult to find hepatitis A virus, even in a contaminated batch."

Dr Finn Romanes, from the Victorian Health Department, said they were asking people who had eaten this product in the past 50 days to look out for symptoms of the disease.

"Symptoms typically begin with fever, loss of appetite and nausea, and can progress to jaundice, which is dark urine, yellowing of the eyes," he said.

"In a very small number of cases there can be death associated with hepatitis A infection.

"If you develop any symptoms after consuming these berries, please contact your GP."

The berries have a two-year shelf life and any product purchased from October 2014 onwards should be thrown out.

"The company's working with us to recall any product that's on the shelves of this line at all," Dr Romanes said.

"We're really asking people to be vigilant for symptoms for quite a long period because it can take up to a month or 50 days to develop symptoms."

Hospital listeria threat in mousse supplied to hospitals

In a separate recall a number of hospitals have been told to throw out a chocolate mousse product, found in routine tests, to contain listeria.

The mousse, which had a use-by date of February 14, 2015, was supplied to the Austin Hospital, St Vincent's Private, St Vincent's Mercy, Brunswick Private, the Royal Children's Hospital, Ballarat Health Services, Caulfield Hospital, Sandringham Hospital, Frankston Hospital and Rosebud Hospital.

No cases have been reported, but symptoms can take up to 70 days to appear.

Most healthy people are not affected by listeria or show only minor symptoms.

"The issue with listeria is that it's it's an issue for people with compromised immune systems because they can become more unwell," Dr Romanes said.

"As many people may know, some ready-to-eat foods and other foods that can contain listeria are dangerous for pregnant women their unborn babies and the elderly."

The hospitals are notifying patients who may have consumed the mousse between January 29 and February 10.

"Hospitals are taking action to contact people and there hasn't been anyone with illness identified so far," Dr Romanes said.

Topics:food-poisoning, diseases-and-disorders, health, melbourne-3000, australia, sydney-2000

First posted February 14, 2015 09:47:51

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Updated February 15, 2015 10:22:19

At least 400,000 people have lined the streets of Perth for a second day to watch twogiant marionettes walk through the city as part of the International Arts Festival.

The six-metre tall little girl giant continued her search for a second giant, an 11-metre tall deep sea diver who had been resting outside the Perth train station.

On Saturday, he arose from his slumber and also began roaming the streets.

At one point he stopped and appeared to take a drink from a fire truck.

The two figures are due to meet on Sunday at Langley Park and leave on a barge on the Swan River.

The performance, The Incredible and Phenomenal Journey of the Giants, attracted an estimated 180,000 people to the city on Friday.

Crowds began pouring into the CBD from early this morning and people were standing 10-deep in some parts of the city.

A festival spokeswoman said 400,000 people had watched the performance on Saturday morning.

The little girl giant is operated by a team of 25 people pulling strings to make her limbs move.

As she moved along she performed a series of gymnastic moves, before arriving at Weld Square in Northbridge where she was due to have a four-hour nap.

Festival artistic director Jonathan Holloway said he had been "blown away" by how people had responded to the giants.

"The audiences have just been amazing ... obviously the girl is wonderful," he said.

He said the audience reaction had been "unbelievably good .... people are energised, they're excited".

Transperth spokesman David Hynes said trains had been at capacity between 8:00am and 11:00am, with many people at inner-city stations unable to board.

He said extra services and carriages had been put on, and an estimated 18,000 people an hour had travelled by train into the city during that time.

"We did have a few issues earlier - it would seem that people left it a bit late trying to get in to see the diver giant," he said.

"I don't think anyone was expecting such a crush this morning, but that's been resolved now, although numbers are still heavy."

Yesterday the girl travelled several city blocks before resting in a deck chair at Wellington Square and reading from a giant book.

The $5 million event is expected to draw in more than one million people over three days.

Information on finding and following The Giants is at Perth Festival website.

Topics:street-art, performance-art, perth-6000

First posted February 14, 2015 13:12:44

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