There is an increasing number of alerts and reported outbreaks of foodborne viruses in foods. Viruses mostly associated with viral foodborne illnesses and outbreaks are Norovirus (NoV) and Hepatitis A virus (HAV).
Noroviruses have been recognized in Europe as a leading cause of foodborne gastroenteritis over the last decade. HAV causes very severe inflammation of the liver (hepatitis). However, HAV is prevailing in endemic countries outside Europa. It should be taken into consideration when importing food products originating from these countries. The WHO provides a map with an overview of the estimated Hepatitis A virus prevalence.
Major contamination routes are person-to-person or person-to-food (during picking, preparation of food) and contaminated water (e.g. applied as irrigation water, washing water, to dilute pesticides or cultivation water).
A broad range of foods have been implicated in NoV/HAV foodborne outbreaks:
- shellfish (e.g. oysters, mussels), crustaceans and their products;
- fruits - mainly berries - and vegetables (fresh and frozen);
- unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices;
- ready-to-eat food such as sandwiches.
There is actually no European legislation in place for Norovirus and Hepatitis A virus in fresh produce. However there are scientific opinions made by EFSA.
NoV/HAV detection is still difficult and hampered by several limitations. Unlike most foodborne bacteria, viruses cannot grow in the environment since they need specific host cells to replicate. In general, the strategy for detection of foodborne viruses in food samples consists of 3 steps.
For the samples, we talk mainly about fresh produce and fruits and about processed fruits and vegetables.
Primoris is officially accredited for norovirus and hepatite A viruses. The accreditation certificate can be consulted on this website.
The European Commission — Health and Food Safety, has published the 2016 annual report on the work of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). The RASFF was put in place to provide food and feed control authorities with an effective tool to exchange information about measures taken responding to serious risks detected in relation to food or feed. This exchange of information helps Member States to act more rapidly and in a coordinated manner in response to a health threat caused by food or feed.
As from Monday January 29th, we extend our services with highly reliable and accredited analyses of the mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH) in food:
- MOSH: mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons
- POSH: polyolefinic oligomeric saturated hydrocarbons (closely related to MOSH. POSH & MOSH are always reported together)
- MOAH: mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons
Scientific support for companies in the agro food chain concerning food safety, quality, quality management and risk assessment
Following the actual fipronil crisis, the past few weeks we’ve been working hard on an additional quick individual method for customers that are only interested in the fipronil compound. This extra accredited method, carrying the new method code [FIP_01_A] is available starting from Thursday September 7th.