Sixty calls to helpline about frozen berry alert
People asking what brand of berries implicated in food safety warning
The most commonly asked question is which brand of berries is involved inhealth scare.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has received 60 calls from the public about the food poisoning outbreak of Hepatitis A linked with imported frozen berries since it issued an alert on Friday.
Some ten cases of Hepatitis A virus have been identified in Ireland and half of those cases have been linked to frozen berries.
The authority has advised consumers to boil all imported frozen berries for at least one minute before eating to kill the virus.
When it highlighted the issue on Friday it provided a helpline number for the public. A spokeswoman said most callers to the helpline (1890 336677)were asking about the brand of frozen berries involved, or wondering why the berries had not been withdrawn.
She said it was difficult to identify the source of the outbreak because of the long time period between eating the contaminated food and becoming ill. The average incubation period is 28 days but it could be as long as 50 days. By then, people would find it difficult to recall what they had eaten, or what specific brand of berries they had purchased.
The virus has not yet been detected in any food sampled in Ireland but the FSAI is continuing to track and trace foods eaten by people who are ill.
Italy has been experiencing an outbreak of the same strain of Hepatitis A virus since the beginning of the year and it has also been linked to the consumption of imported frozen berries. A different strain of the virus has been identified in a food poisoning outbreak in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, also involving frozen berries.