Hepatitis A scare pushes up demand for fresh Australian berries

South Australia’s wholesale fruit and vegetable market has witnessed a stark increase in demand for Australian produced fresh blueberries and raspberries, following the Hepatitis A outbreak.

The Adelaide Produce Market, which collectively supplies wholesale volumes of fresh produce to supermarkets, greengrocers, cafes and other food service providers has reported that demand for blueberries in the past week has doubled, while demand for raspberries has increased by 50 percent.

"You just can't beat Australian grown fresh produce. Unlike the imported cheap, inferior frozen produce from overseas, we know exactly how our fresh produce was grown, when it was picked and how it was transported along the supply chain," Adelaide Produce Market CEO Angelo Demasi said.

Demasi said that it is unfortunate that during times of disaster, consumers only come to cherish and appreciate how good the produce grown in Australia really is.

"We are global leaders in producing premium fresh fruits and vegetables, so consuming cheap imported frozen produce doesn't make sense. We have no idea how it was produced and what quality control measures are in place," he said.

Blueberry supply will shorten slightly in coming weeks due to seasonal factors; however raspberry supply is expected to increase as the local season continues to strengthen.

13 cases of Hepatitis A in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and WA have been linked to frozen raspberries imported from China and repackaged by Bairnsdale-based Patties Foods.

Patties faces a class action suit, as Slater and Gordon is encouraging those who contracted Hepatitis A after eating the berries to come forward.

The Department of Agriculture has formally requested a review of the risk status of frozen berries from FSANZ and is seeking assurances from China about the safety of further shipments of frozen berries.

Products included in the recall are: Nanna’s Raspberries 1kg, Nanna’s Mixed Berries 1kg and Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g and 500g.

 

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