Information for processors using imported frozen berries

December 18, 2015 at 2:34 PM

Information for processors using imported frozen berries


The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has made significant progress in its investigation of imported frozen berries associated with a number of recent Hepatitis A cases.


MPI is reminding processors and manufacturers who use imported frozen berries as an ingredient to consider Hepatitis A as a hazard that is reasonably likely to occur.   They should ensure that they have the appropriate controls in their process to address this hazard. An exception is if they have evidence demonstrating that this hazard is unlikely to occur in the imported frozen berries that they use. This means having full documentation on, and independent verification of, the producer’s control measures. These should include:

  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
  • Sickness policies
  • Sanitation facilities and controls
  • Controls on irrigation water used in berry production
  • Product traceability.

Hepatitis A is a relatively hardy pathogen that is able to survive freezing, freeze drying, and/or heat treatments of less than 85°C for 1 minute (or an equivalent process).  It is also relatively stable in an acid environment and in foods with a higher °Brix.


Food processors and manufacturers should review their controls if they manufacture freeze dried berries from frozen imported berries, or if they are using imported frozen berries as an ingredient in a product. All food contact equipment and other surfaces should be cleaned and sanitised after processing untreated berries.


Imported berries should be heated to at least 85°C for 1 minute, or subject to an equivalent process.  Packaging should be disposed of and not re-used.

MPI has developed guidance for food business operators to help determine whether their thermal process is sufficient to inactivate Hepatitis A in their product.  This guidance is in the attached Science report (Guidance for the thermal inactivation of Hepatitis A virus in Berries).  Click here to download the processing guidelines.


MPI also has a data sheet which provides useful information about the Hepatitis A virus.



All food businesses should be aware that sick food handlers may spread viruses to food.  They should have sickness policies that exclude workers from handling food when they are ill.  This is particularly important for any food that does not have a virus kill step after food is handled by workers.  For further information see sections 4.1-4.4 of the Food Service and Retail Food Control Plan Template:


If you are concerned about the safety of your food products, please contact your verifier if operating under a Risk Management Programme or if under a Food Safety Programme please contact the MPI helpline (0800 00 83 330800 00 83 33 ).

Information for verifiers/auditors checking businesses using imported frozen berries


Please refer to the previous page for the information that has been provided to food businesses.

Verifiers and auditors of food businesses that use imported berries should check that those businesses have appropriate:

  • thermal processes to inactivate Hepatitis A and records to demonstrate that these processes have been implemented effectively; and
  • measures in place to prevent recontamination of processed food.

Verifiers and auditors of all food businesses should also check that sick workers are excluded from handling food.  This should be confirmed by talking to staff about how illness is managed and viewing appropriate records.


Tags: Hepatitis in frozen berries control of Hepatits A in berries
Category: News



carbon monoxidehow to determine shelf life of foodsPrivate Labelrare or lightly cooked meat guidelinesListeria outbreakEnvironmental swabbingTemplate Food Control PlanJob Vacancyalcoholic beverages composition requirementsFood allergenweights and measuresListeria testing of ready to eat foodsNovel food processing technologiesSignificant amendments to Food Control PlansFermenting vegetablesintended use codingNational ProgrammesFood Safety postersSushi guidelinesNational Programmeallergen labellingsulphites in meatfood importer registrationsalami food safety guidelinesInternal Audit trainingHeat treatments for meat and seafoodHACCP podcastFood safety cultureHurdle TechnologyMy Food PlanHACCP updatessous vide for foodserviceFood safety and Covid 19Concentration and DryingFood Safety Culture resourcesCustomise Your National ProgrammeNPDFood labelling for food service and cateringFood Recall ProceduresAssured Food Safety new websiteListeria trainingEating safely when pregnantLupinCoronavirus and food safetyfood preservationDehydrating foodsLabelling of irradiated foodFood Standards Code revisionMicrobiological Limits in Foodfood weights and measuresDomestic fridgesFortification of flourImporting food New ZealandWSMP template2020 General Principles of Food Hygienewhat pathogens to test food forHamburger meat cookingraw milkStorage of meat and seafoodglazed seafood weightsFood Protection Forumshelfe life guidelinesHPP for milkFood safety training resourcesFSANZ Food Allergen PortalFood Recall StatisticsFood Act 2014food safety updatesAllergen management and labelling guideTemplate FCPCountry of Origin labelling for foodFood FraudFood safety trendsFood processing criteriaCovid 19 Alert Level 4Home based food businessesMaking food for animalsDangers of highly concentrated caffeinesous videsale of raw milkfood safety auditorFood Notice for Food Control Plans and National Programmes Calculate sanitiserOffice administrator positionHepatitis AEgg shelf lifeFood labellingTop 5 Food Safety TopicsHemp seed food labellingFood Act 2014 resourcesCodex HACCP updatesfresh produce sanitationListeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foodsHemp seed can be sold as foodFood recall Risk ManagementInterpreting lab resultsGM FoodsFood business registrationirradiated foodlisteria online trainingcontract food safety specialistCaffeine powders and foodFood allergensFurther Processing guidelinesWinemakers Food Safety Templatefood industry crisis managementE coli 0157 Summary of Changes to Food Standards CodeAcidificationFood labelling for retailfolic acid in flourbrix pH and water activityAlcohol in kombuchaEgg labellingCovid 19 implications for food manufacturingNational Programme guidanceFood ProcessingNovel foodsUCFM Guidelinesshelf life determinationcontrol of Hepatits A in berriesCovid 19 Alert Level 2gluten freefood and botulism riskFood safety governancemodified atmosphere packingFood Control Plan evaluationFood businesses under Alert Level 3Imported forzen berriesCross contamination E coli 0157food defenceFree Listeria training modulepre-op inspectionsFSSC 22000Laboratory training coursesFood labelling guidefood allergen labellingMercury in Fishfood packagingUnexpected allergens in foodStarting a Food businessFood Safety Assessor positionSafe fish consumptionListeria guidelinesAcidifying FoodFood Safety WatchAllergen managementCOVID 19Imported FoodsNutrition Panel CalculatorPreparing food industry sanitisersListeria swabbingFood Safety Assessment KombuchaHealth Star RatingListeria samplingpreservatives in meatFood Act 2014 exemptionsFood safety and Coronaviruslabel reviewsWater activity seminarPathogen swabbingIntentional SubstitutionFront of pack labellingFood processing technologiesWhich microbiological limits do I useCommercial sterilisationFood Fraud ToolkitStandard 1.6.1 Listeria testingFood labelingFood Safety Toolkitcustom Food Control Planalcohol warning labelsStandards for food premisesSelf supply waterFood Safety Buddy magazineFood Safety data capturefood associations with pathogensGM Food resourcesfish processingAlcohol labelling guideMicrobiological reference criteriaImported Food made with fortified ingredientscrisis management guidelinesHepatitis A in frozen berriesFood Safety training coursesfood traceabilityPregnancy warning labelsTotal Diet SurveyHepatitis in frozen berriesHPPCountry of Origin labellingHigh Pressure ProcessingHot holding meat and seafoodFood Recallsapricot kernels and food safetypart time food safety roleSalami manufactureFood business operating at Alert Level 2New Product DevelopmentFood Standards Code Microbiological analysisFoodRecall templatefood legislation updatesPet Foodfood safety programme templatesCovid-19 guidanceCalculating alcohol in brewed soft drinksMilk allergen in dark chocolatemetal detector functionalityListeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foodFood Recall guidelinesFood labelling for selling to manufacturersFood businesses operating under Alert Level 4review of food traceability practicesNational Programme guidelines2020 HACCPFood Regulations 2015MisrepresentationDietary Supplements requirementsDrying fruits and vegetables for food safetyKombucha food safetyFeeding food waste to pigsfood safety rolenew rules for allergen labellingraw milk safetyforeign object auditsImported foodPregnancy warning labels on alcoholCoronavirusFood Allergen PortalFood fermentationHousehold RefrigeratorsMicrobiological testingFood safety and pregnancyRMP resourcesvacuum packingMeat smokingGuidelines for National Programmesfood standards code indexCooking meat and seafoodx ray detector functionalityweights and measursFood premises requirementsBacterial levels in foodFCP evaluationcarbon monoxide in fish processingImported Food Risk Advicefood contact packagingAllergens in foodRMP template formsListeria Outbreak Rock Melonhydrogen cyanide and apricot kernelsHACCP trainingpreserving food with acids