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Fruit imports inspected over hepatitis A scare

Update: February, 27/2015 - 10:03
Officials at the Mong Cai Plant Quarantine Unit in Quang Ninh Province are conducting tests on fruits and vegetables imported from China's bordering markets. — VNA Photo The Duyet

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam is examining Chinese fruit imports as mandated by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), triggered by an announcement that Chinese fruit shipped to Australia were allegedly contaminated with the hepatitis A virus (HAV).

On Tuesday, Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) quoted the DPP, saying it had received a warning from Australian agencies of 13 suspected cases of HAV in frozen mixed fruit from China.

The allegedly contaminated fruit, imported by Patties Foods Limited, were grown in Chile and China and packaged at a China-based factory.

On Monday, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health's Department of Food Safety and Hygiene asked the DPP to inspect Chinese fruit imports and prepare control measures where necessary.

DPP Director Nguyen Xuan Hong said after receiving the warning, his department requested plant quarantine checkpoints at border gates, especially those along the northern border with China, to thoroughly examine any fruit imports.

Nguyen Thi Ha, head of the Plant Quarantine Sub-Department of Region 7 covering the northern border in Lang Son and Cao Bang, said recent Chinese fruit imports to Vietnam were inspected in line with regulations and did not reveal anything unusual.

It remained unclear whether Viet Nam imported any of the contaminated frozen fruit, Hong noted.

The dailymail.co.uk reported that about 450,000 Australians could have consumed potentially contaminated fruit from China.

Eighteen people have been diagnosed with the virus and experts fear more cases will appear as its incubation period can be up to seven weeks.

Patties Foods limited sells more than 70,000 packages of Chinese fruit in Australia each week, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong. — VNS

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