More berries recalled, blood donors told to hold off

A FOURTH frozen berries product line was recalled yesterday as Patties Foods continued to investigate the Hepatitis A outbreak from its Nanna's Raspberries brand.

But Patties Foods chief executive officer Steven Chaur said the decision to remove the Nanna's Raspberries 1kg packs from shelves was a precautionary measure.

The virus has struck down five people from Queensland, two from New South Wales and three from Victoria who have eaten the berries packaged in China.

AUSVEG deputy chief executive Andrew White has called for tighter restrictions on food imported to Australia.

He said while it would be cheaper to package the berries in China, he was unsure of how much money would be saved.

"The point I've been making is that you can't put a price on safety," Mr White said.

He welcomed Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce's emphasis on the importance of country of origin labelling.

AUSVEG has amped up its calls for clearer labelling in the wake of the outbreak.

"The legislation could potentially result in the scrapping of terms such as 'made from local and imported ingredients', which AUSVEG has long argued is deeply confusing for consumers given it provides no real information about where ingredients are being sourced," Mr White said.

Red Cross Blood Service has also asked donors who consumed the Nanna's product or Creative Gourment mixed berries, also packaged at the same source, not to give blood for two months.

The service said it was a precautionary matter and the virus had a low risk of transferring through blood supply because it is almost exclusively spread by ingestion of contaminated food.

Mr Chaur said the supplier of raspberries is no longer used by Patties Foods.

"The consumer recall is in advance of further microbiological test results, but given the potential health threat and the level of community concern, we are taking this precautionary measure."

"As a company, we apologise to our consumers and customers for the concern and distress this is causing."