Claims News

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries Likely to Follow New Warning

Posted on: September 10th, 2014

Compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries are likely to follow a new warning from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that imported frozen berries should be boiled for at least one minute before eating them or using them in cooking.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recommended boiling the frozen fruit after an increase in patients being diagnosed with hepatitis A was identified by the National Virus Reference Laboratory, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Health Service Executive.

The alert follows a similar one last year after ten patients in Ireland were diagnosed with the hepatitis A – five of which were directly linked to imported frozen berries. The number of hepatitis A cases has now risen to twenty-one, and the FSAI is keen to warn the public of the risks of the contaminated food to prevent the number of illnesses increasing.

Risk of Infection from Berries Already in the Food Chain

The chief executive of the FSAI – Professor Alan Reilly – was quick to point out that the risk of developing hepatitis A was only from imported frozen berries, and not from fresh berries or those cultivated in Ireland – although he also commented that all fruits should be washed before eating them.

Professor Reilly also highlighted the threat of contracting hepatitis A from frozen berries when they have been used as ingredients in mass-produced food products used by the catering industry. He recommended that catering companies should source any frozen berries they use in their products from reputable suppliers that have food safety management systems in place.

The Symptoms of Hepatitis A

The new alert over the health risk will alarm many people who regularly consume frozen berries as part of their diet – especially as the incubation period of the virus can be several weeks before the symptoms manifest. Hepatitis A is a virus which attacks the liver and results in victims feeling nauseous, experiencing a loss of appetite, abdominal pains, and a fever.

The symptoms usually last between one and two weeks, although they could persist for several months in the young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Unfortunately there is no cure for hepatitis A, but if you are experiencing these symptoms you should seek medical attention as soon as possible (hepatitis A is not contagious provided that a high standard of hygiene is maintained).

Compensation Claims for Hepatitis A in Frozen Berries

If your doctor subsequently diagnoses you with the virus, it is possible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries against the retails outlet from which the berries were purchased. Ideally you will have retained the receipt of your purchase from when the berries were bought, but this is not always necessary for compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries to be successful.

The best course of action is to speak with a solicitor to establish whether you are eligible to make compensation claims for hepatitis A in frozen berries. You should advise the solicitor of the symptoms you have been experiencing, the diagnosis that have been made by your doctor and the consequences of the illness on your quality of life and ability to work. It will also help the swift resolution of your claim if you are aware of any other victims of hepatitis A who purchased frozen berries from the same source as you did.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.