Food alert: Imported strawberries infected with hepatitis

Consumers saved from infected strawberries

Strawberries: health alert. Credit: Kyle McDonald/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Strawberries imported into Spain from Morocco have been seized after they were discovered to be infected with hepatitis A.

Recently, a disturbing discovery was made when a batch of strawberries from Morocco, found to be contaminated with hepatitis A, was intercepted upon its arrival in Spain.

The event unfolded on Wednesday, March 6 when Juanma Moreno, the President of the Regional Government of Andalucia, voiced his concerns.

He urged the Spanish Government to tighten border inspections after the contaminated strawberries entered Spain through the port of Algeciras.

Immediate action prevents distribution

Authorities acted swiftly. ‘The news so far is reassuring in the sense that, once the distributor has been located, it tells us that they have not been marketed,’ Moreno stated.

The distributor, based in Sevilla, along with the importer from Huelva, were promptly identified. Thankfully they confirmed that the strawberries had not reached the market.

This rapid response ensured the traceability of the product was established in record time, less than 24 hours after the initial alert was received on Monday afternoon.

Calls for stricter controls at borders

Moreno highlighted the failure in customs controls, stressing that ‘those strawberries should not have entered Spain.’ He criticised the central government for shirking its responsibilities, as it falls to Foreign Health to analyse products, not the Junta de Andalucia.

‘The State does not want to assume its responsibility,’ he asserted, calling for a review and enhancement of the protocols for inspecting imports from third countries.

‘It is very important to control it based on the protocols in the health and commercial fields,’ Moreno added, underlining the widespread concern among various production sectors and citizens over what he called the state’s lackadaisical approach to product control.

The incident has shed light on the vital need for stringent checks on imported goods to safeguard public health. As investigations continue, the commitment to preventing any similar future occurrences remains a top priority.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.