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.
The method has been approved for accreditation and we expect the new accreditation certificate in the first quarter of 2017.
As part of ensuring a constant quality control and -improvement, Primoris takes part in many national and international ring tests. These are independent checks on the quality of laboratory analysis.
On Monday July 3rd, we introduce a new product code for analyses on dithianon: DITH_01_A.When requesting dithianon in extranet, make sure to select this new product code.
On Monday July 3rd, we launch two important scope updates of our LMS and LMS2 multimethods. Please read these changes carefully as they might be relevant when registering a sample.
On December 16th, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Belgian private lab, that was officially launched on July 1st 2001 as a spin-off of the Belgian Ghent University.