The Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety in collaboration with Oregon State University hosted Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus in Corvallis, OR on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Her presentation, "Viruses in Frozen Berries? A Comprehensive Look at the Scientific Evidence," is now available for viewing on our resources page and on our new WRCEFS YouTube Channel!
In early 2019, the FDA began a frozen berry sampling plan to screen commercial product for evidence of Norovirus and Hepatitis A contamination. While imported frozen berries have been associated with four US outbreaks in the last 20 years, there have been none linked to domestically produced product. So it was quite unexpected when FDA obtained PCR-based evidence of virus contamination in over 10 of 575 products sampled, with most of these positives arising from domestically produced product. These findings resulted in numerous recalls. Growers, processors, retailers, and the scientific community are baffled by these results, and there are many knowledge gaps that make it difficult to respond to this situation. This presentation will provide a history of the plan, how and why its findings are important, and provide a platform to discuss what can (and cannot) be done to help the berry industry navigate this complex and evolving issue.