Patties Foods Ltd.’s packaged berries were subject to investigation by the Australian authorities after five people fell sick after eating these fruits, which were packaged at the Chinese factory. Two people in NSW and three in Victoria have hepatitis A after eating the berries.
Food standards Australia alerted the consumers not to eat this product and return it to the place of purchase. The authorities also advised concerned consumers to seek medical consultation for their health.
The outbreak is linked to poor water supplies and hygiene in the Chinese plant. Patties Foods has recalled certain batches of Nanna’s Mixed Berries 1kg, Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g and 500g packages.
The recall has raised concerns over the food exports by this Asian giant, and the effect was seen on the company’s shares that fell more than 5% in early trading.
Steven Chaur, Patties Foods CEO, mentioned that it will be too early to determine whether the recalls will make any financial dent to the company’s results. He also said that quality control testing hasn’t found any issues with food safety of either product. The company is conducting detailed microbiological testing to ensure public safety and confidence. Patties Foods has already announced recall for its frozen Mixed Berries at least until the results of laboratory tests become available.
Reportage of contamination scandals leading to serious illnesses and even death is increasing in China. Such issues have also led to increasing imports of New Zealand milk, European infant formula and Japanese rice in China.
The department of health in Victoria has confirmed that the contamination in the Patties Foods’ Mixed Berries had been traced back to China and there is enough evidence to link the contamination to the packing process. It could be linked to endemic hepatitis A in China. The authorities are likely to investigate what other products this Chinese supplier export to enforce adequate safety measures.