Hepatitis A in fruit is not a new problem. The first outbreak was already detected in 2013, when more than 1300 cases were registered.
What is Hepatitis A and how are fruits contaminated?
Hepatitis A, known as "travel hepatitis," is a liver inflammation caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This infection is prevalent in countries with inadequate hygiene conditions.
The hepatitis A virus spreads through contact with infected individuals' fecal matter. This mode of transmission often occurs through indirect contact, such as touching contaminated surfaces like toilet flushes, door handles, water taps, and handrails in public transportation.
Furthermore, direct infection can also happen through the consumption of contaminated water that has been tainted with feces. The hepatitis A virus can also be present in food. If proper hygiene practices are not followed, inadequately cooked fish and seafood, ice cubes, ice cream, and fruits and vegetables may harbor this dangerous pathogen.
We discover an alarming trend in our Food Safety Intelligence
Upon examining the data on hepatitis A in fruits and vegetables within our Food Safety Intelligence, a striking pattern emerges. Not only do we observe the initial outbreak in 2013, but we also witness a concerning rise in the hepatitis hazard since mid-2022, particularly within mixed berries and strawberries.
This alarming trend in our food safety intelligence highlights the urgent need for increased awareness and preventive measures.
It is essential for consumers to be vigilant and practice good hygiene when handling and consuming fresh fruits. Thoroughly washing fruits before consumption can help eliminate any potential contaminants. Additionally, ensuring that the fruits are sourced from reputable suppliers who prioritize food safety standards is crucial.
For food suppliers and distributors, implementing robust quality control measures is imperative. This includes regular testing of fruits for hepatitis A and other pathogens, as well as adherence to proper storage and handling protocols.
In conclusion, the concerning rise in the hepatitis hazard within mixed berries and strawberries is a cause for alarm. As we delve deeper into our Food Safety Intelligence, it becomes evident that immediate action is needed to address this growing problem. By raising awareness, promoting good hygiene practices, and implementing stringent quality control measures, we can safeguard against the threat of hepatitis A in fruits and ensure the safety of our food supply chain.
Indeed, this monitoring of potential risks was made possible through SGS Digicomply, an AI-powered solution designed for Food Safety and Regulatory professionals. By offering real-time monitoring and predictive risk management, this advanced tool empowers businesses to stay ahead of food safety challenges and ensure compliance with regulations. SGS Digicomply enables proactive measures, enhancing the safety and integrity of the food supply chain and reinforcing the commitment to public health and consumer protection. Get started for free now.