"Honey, I have to tell you something."
"Oh yeah, what is it?" I say nonchalantly, as we enjoy the warm summer Geraldton evening at our local park. The dog is playing happily, chewing on a stick he's found, and the park is empty save a couple of tourists who obviously didn't want to fork out for a caravan park and have decided to park up for the night.
"I saw something on Facebook the other day. I don't want you to freak out."
That's a great way to make your husband freak out by the way.
"Oh great." A million scenarios run through my head.
"Don't worry, it's not about your business," she says, insinuating that's the thing in the world I care most about. "Have you heard about those berries that have hepatitis?"
"Yes." I was kind of proud that I had. But the truth is it was a fluke that I heard. I never* watch TV, read the paper, scroll through my Facebook feed, or turn on the radio. If news doesn't appear in my Twitter stream or on The Daily Show with John Stewart I don't hear it. About the only stuff I have time to keep up with is Geraldton news. (*rarely)
But I had turned on ABC News radio the other day in the car. I used to be addicted to it before EG launched and consumed my every waking moment. I caught a story about the poison Chinese berries and what I can only describe as perhaps the worst on air interview I have ever heard. A journalist was trying to bait a farmer from the South West into saying anything remotely sensational. All the farmer would say was that "it wasn't his field of expertise" and that he and other local growers probably couldn't meet the market demand via Woolies and Coles for frozen berries, and he was happy just serving his local region. I was glad we didn't have any of those horrid berries in our house. At least, I hadn't been served any desert with any berries recently.
So back to my wife. "Well, we have some in our freezer. And I've been eating them."
"When did you find out?!"
"Yesterday. I didn't tell you straight away because I didn't want you to freak out."
"I don't freak out!"
I was freaking out.
From Patties Foods:
Patties foods has conducted a voluntary consumer recall for Nanna's Mixed Berries 1kg, All Batches up to and including Best Before Date 22/11/16, and as a precautionary measure, has extended this recall to include:
- Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g, up to and including Best Before Date 10/12/17
- Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 500g up to and including Best Before Date 06/10/17
- Nanna's frozen Raspberries 1kg up to and including Best Before Date 15/09/16.
Patties Foods advises consumers not to eat the products detailed above, and return packs to the place of purchase for a full cash refund.
Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice from their GP or Government Health Authorities in their state.
The consumer recall is only for the products listed above. No Nanna's fruit pies, crumbles, waffles or donuts, or other frozen fruit items are affected by the recall. No other products within the Creative Gourmet range are affected by the recall.
Class action law suite
Law firm Slater and Gordon are encouraging anyone who ate the berries and developed the virus to come forward, as a class action law suite looms.
The supermarkets and distributors are advising people to dispose of the berries, but according to Channel 9 (link) compensation lawyer Mark O'Connor says consumers should ignore that advice as the product could become key evidence should they contract the virus. He advised people to label the packets "POISON" so they're not consumed.
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. Anyone who has not been immunised either by vaccination or previous infection, can be infected with hepatitis A. People can get the infection if they have direct contact with food, drinks or objects contaminated by the faeces (poo) of an infected person. The virus can survive for several hours outside the body but persists on the hands and in food for even longer and is resistant to heating and freezing. Heating and/or freezing food does not remove the risk of Hepatitis A infection.
For more information on Hep A click here: Link