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.
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.
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.
On August 21st we add the analysis of the tropane alkaloids atropine and scopolamine to our portfolio. These analyses are relevant for customers that work with millet, sorghum, buckwheat, nutritional supplements, (herbal) teas, legume vegetables, pulses, oilseeds and derived products.
On August 21st, we launch a substantial expansion of our mycotoxin analysis scope. As a proven specialist in mycotoxin analyses, we have not only further developed our existing method for regulated mycotoxins, we can also announce the inclusion of new emerging mycotoxins.
We ask you to read the information carefully since it also contains necessary practical info when requesting analyses.