The Global Indian

Hep A scare in NZ following apple infection

A small quantity of fresh fruit sold in New Zealand in late February and early March may have been contaminated with Hepatitis A virus.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says the risk of transmission of the virus is relatively low.

“We have been advised that a person packing some varieties of apples and peaches in a Hawke’s Bay packhouse has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A,” says MPI Deputy Director General Scott Gallacher.

“This worker handled Royal Gala and New Zealand Beauty apples and Golden Queen peaches over a four day period while they would have been infectious. Hepatitis A virus can remain infectious on the surface of fruit for some months and transmit infection to other handlers and consumers.

Scott says while some potentially affected fruit has been traced and withdrawn from sale, it is expected that approximately 1400 cartons have been sold, with fruit either consumed or still in some people’s homes.

Scott says all fruit involved in this case was for domestic New Zealand supply and has not been exported.

The fruit concerned was on sale between 27 February and 13 March 2014 at the following outlets.

Royal Gala apples from:
All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
The following Christchurch retailers – G Morris and Son, Fresh Connection, United Fresh, Edgeware Supervalue.

Golden Queen peaches from:
All Countdown supermarkets in the North Island.
Pak n Save, New World and Four Square supermarkets from Taupo to Kaitaia.

The following Auckland retailers –  Dahua Supermarket (Albany), Lim Chour (K-Road), Fruit World Pioneer Plaza (Henderson), Manukau Fresh Fruit and Vege, Fresh for Less (Henderson), Save Fruit and Vege Shop (Manukau), Green Field Fruit and Vege (Green Bay), New Lynn Fresh.

Also Fresh World in Hawera.

New Zealand Beauty apples from:
All Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value supermarkets in the South Island.

The Ministry recommends people who bought potentially affected fruit between 27 February and 13 March 2014 to either cook the fruit well before eating, or if in doubt, throw it out.

“We advise anyone who becomes ill with the following symptoms contact their doctor. Look out for skin jaundice (yellowish tinge), yellowing of the whites of eyes, dark coloured urine and pale bowel motions. Early signs of Hepatitis A are fever, loss of appetite, stomach pains and nausea.

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