Pricewatch: readers’ queries
The berry scare causes confusion; and Ulster Bank and a customer in arrears see things differently
A Food Safety Authority spokeswoman was not in a position to shed any more light on the nature of the contamination
Berry confused about frozen fruit contamination warning
Peter Mooney contacted us about the recent food scare connected to frozen berries. “We use a lot of frozen soft fruit to make smoothies etc,” he writes “so the warning of possible hepatitis infection concerned us.”
“I rang Lidl and the very helpful woman at the end of the phone said they had heard about the warning but had heard nothing from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland [FSAI)].
“She took details of the packets’ bar codes, batch number etc and phoned me back to say they still had no details but that I should dump the two and they would send me a voucher. All of which is fair enough. The only guidelines from the FSAI were to boil the fruit for a minute but this essentially boils away all the benefits of frozen fresh fruit.”
Because he uses frozen soft fruit a lot, he is “now in a bit of limbo as no one has any guidelines as to what brands are safe. Even ones packed in Ireland don’t give the country of origin of the fruit. Seems a bit much for the FSAI to issue a warning and then leave it hanging in the air. Could you dig out some more info as to what frozen fruit might be safe and what might be suspect?”
We contacted the FSAI and while its spokeswoman was very helpful she was not in a position to shed any more light on the nature of the contamination or how long its advice on boiling berries would be in place.
“We are working hard to locate the source of the contamination as are the authorities across Europe and in the US, but it is like finding a needle in a haystack. Until we know more, the only advice we can give people is to boil the fruit for one minute before they eat it. We can’t force people to do that and it is your reader’s call but it is the best advice we can give.”
Conflicting accounts about bank’s arrears policy
A woman in Galway has a mortgage with Ulster Bank, and she has fallen into arrears. She called the bank to discuss options and agreed that the best way forward was to extend the term of the mortgage, because paying extra each month was not possible. She is about €5,000 behind in repayments.