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Published on : Feb 16, 2015

Owing to poor hygiene and water supplies in a packaging plant at China, an Australian company has evoked the outbreak of hepatitis A on its frozen berry products. This has reignited fears among the Asian food experts about the safety.

Investigations by Australian authorities showed that five people fell sick after consuming the Patties Foods Ltd berries produced in China and Chile before they were packaged at the China factory.  

Over the years, there has been a deep concern regarding food safety in China due to rapid industrialization exacting heavy toll on soil and water. Additionally, poor hygiene production and packaging plants has been a persisting problem too. 

Several contamination scandals have led to serious illnesses in China of imports of New Zealand milk, European infant formula and Japanese rice.   

Around 11,000 school children in Germany suffered diarrhea and vomiting due to frozen strawberries that were imported from China. But, the Chinese Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine denied all these claims saying tests showed no sign of contamination. 

However, Australia’s Victoria tests traced back to China. The test that was identified has endemic hepatitis A involved with packing these berries, said the Australian’s department’s senior medical advisor. This proves there is strong evidence in this case.  

On the other hand, Patties quality control tests did not show up any safety issues with frozen berries products. A detailed microbiological testing has been carried out on this. 

The company shares are likely to cut down with the Chinese supplier down by 9.5 percent to A$1.24 – after declining as low as A$1.14. 

The Chief Executive said they have forestalled the entire frozen mixed berries process until the results of the laboratory tests are out. The company believes this would have impacted the company’s finances.