In response to three hepatitis A (HAV) and one norovirus outbreaks, the FDA started sampling and testing frozen berries in an effort to protect consumers and ensure safe food. Frozen berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are used regularly in foods that are not cooked (no kill step) and are easily contaminated during picking, processing, and packing. Therefore, the viruses are a significant hazard and need to be controlled.
The FDA started sampling in November 2018 and will continue until May 2020. Sampling will be unannounced and for both domestic and imported frozen berries. If positive results occur, the FDA has the authority to place a company on import alert, issue a recall, or issue public warnings.
The Tentamus Group, in particular, Tentamus North America, offers various services to assist in ensuring your produce is complaint and safe:
- FSMA Produce Safety rule compliance consultation (https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/fsma-final-rule-produce-safety)
- Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) support and consultation
- Consulting services (e.g. Food Safety plan creation and review, FSMA rule clarification)
- Conducting a hazard analysis and risk assessment for your manufacturing facility and production process
Further information about FDA’s berry testing can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/food/sampling-protect-food-supply/microbiological-surveillance-sampling-fy-19-20-frozen-berries-strawberries-raspberries-and
Get in touch with our experts. We’re ready to discuss your requirements.
Vy Goddard, Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Tentamus North America