This month the FDA plans to resume an assignment to collect and test frozen berries that it paused at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency says the strategy is being developed in response to a history of hepatitis A (HAV) and norovirus (NoV) outbreaks linked to the consumption of both fresh and frozen berries.
The assignment seeks to estimate the prevalence of HAV and NoV in frozen strawberries, raspberries and blackberries and help the FDA identify sites where practices or conditions may exist that constitute safety vulnerabilities.
To date, the FDA has collected and tested more than 1,100 samples under this assignment and plans to collect and test about 427 more to meet the assignment’s public health goals.
The agency does not plan to collect or test any additional frozen strawberries as they have already met our collection target for that commodity.
The FDA says it plans to work collaboratively with industry, academia and regulatory partners in the development of the food safety prevention strategy to identify measures that can be taken to limit or prevent contamination from occurring throughout the berry supply chain, approaches to re-enforce control measures and their application, and areas where additional research is needed.
For additional information, the FDA suggests these links: