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.
Proficiency tests are part of Primoris’ everyday operation. These are independent tests that try to verify the analysis quality of a laboratory. Further, their results are used to evaluate the performance of the analysis methods and, if necessary, adjust them. Subsequently, Primoris also takes part in various undercover proficiency tests to meet the strictest quality demands possible.
The Primoris group is proud to announce the official opening of Primoris Costa Rica, located in Alajuela, offering analytical services to Central America and Caribbean countries. The head quarter of the group is located in Belgium, and started in 2001 as a specialised lab for pesticide residue analysis.
We want to inform you that as from 1 January 2019, the official street number of Primoris Belgium will change. This means that Primoris Belgium doesn’t relocate to another building, but only gets a new official street number:
Ciboris vzw, partner van de Primoris Holding, organiseert dit najaar de opleiding "Analyse en detectie van voedselfraude: zin en onzin" voor kwaliteits- en aankoopverantwoordelijken in de agrovoedingsindustrie. De opleiding door één dag (9u00 - 16u00) en kan op drie data worden gevolgd: 25 september, 23 oktober en 30 november