The Courier-Mail

Berry tests go on the backburner

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TESTING of frozen berries will not be increased following the hepatitis A scare this year because an inquiry found they remain a low-risk food.

Thirty-four Australian­s became ill with hepatitis A in an outbreak linked to Nanna’s frozen berries imported from China.

The Food Standards Australia New Zealand establishe­d a review into the low-risk rating it applies to the food that determines the testing regime at the border.

The FSANZ review reported yesterday and determined that berries were a low-risk food for Australian consumers.

It found there was no need to change the risk or testing status of the berries.

“The risk statement concluded that, hepatitis A virus in RTE (ready to eat) berries produced and handled under good agricultur­al practices and good hygienic practices is not a medium to high risk to public health,” the FSANZ said in a statement.

The Department of Agricultur­e carries out food testing at the border but the number of times it tests a food is guided by the risk rating FSANZ attaches to the food.

Low-risk foods are subject to only very occasional testing.

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