It is now likely that there will be an increase in injury claims for compensation due to Hepatitis A infection from imported frozen berries after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued another safety warning over the products.
The FSAI issued a warning in the summer of last year for consumers to boil frozen berries imported to Ireland for at least a minute before consumption in order to destroy the virus present. This notification is a result of such produce being found responsible for a number of cases of the virus in those who ate them without taking such measures beforehand.
Across Europe, 1,140 cases of unexplained Hep A have been diagnosed in the past twelve months. Of these, 331 cases were later attributed to the virus being found in frozen berries, including 21 cases in Ireland. These diagnoses prompted the FSAI to reissue their previous alert to boil the frozen fruit in order to prevent such infection.
Although there is no evidence that Irish frozen berries are responsible for the spread of the disease, and fresh berries also do not seem to be at fault, the chief executive of the FSAI-Professor Alan Reilly-encourages consumers to wash any piece of fruit before eating it.
It is expected that there will be a new wave of compensation claims due to infection by the Hepatitis A virus as a result of consumption of such berries as a result of the reissued warning. The victim is able to make such a claim against any retailer that sold them the berries containing the virus. However, symptoms of the disease can take up to fifty days to show. Therefore, even if a retailer unwittingly sold such a product before the FSAI issued its new warning and therefore had no time to remove imported berries from the shelves, they are still liable to pay compensation to anyone affected by the virus.
The possession of a receipt, or any other proof of purchase, is not a requirement for a victim to make a claim for compensation due to injury from eating infected berries. As long as they have been diagnosed with Hep A that is suspected to have originated from eating contaminated goods, a successful claim can still be made against the retailer in question.