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.
Our lab forms part of the Tech Lane Campus in Ghent (also known as Technology Park). Should you wish to deliver samples or if you are planning a physical visit to our lab, we want to clarify the new traffic regulation.
The analytical method QU2 is a challenging analysis to execute in a high-quality way. Thanks to our daily strive for quality and the highest reliability, we will be able to offer, as of Monday 23 August, the QU2 method under accreditation for fruit, vegetables, oilseeds and cereals.
Using state-of-the-art technology is a definite must if you want to offer the highest reliability in terms of analytical results, speed and service. Thanks to daily investments and the use of the newest technology, we will lower the reporting limit on 18 June for a number of components included in our multiresidue methods and we will also add a number of components to our scope:
Research and development are an important part of the Primoris activities.
To support these developments, we always consider evolutions in market demands and legislation. Maximal risk coverage is becoming increasingly important within pesticide residue analysis, which can be contributed to the increased focus on food safety. Furthermore, we have noticed a growing market demand for lower reporting limits.