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Hepatitis A detected in strawberries from Morocco. EFE
EU food safety alert issued after Hepatitis A detected in strawberries imported into Spain from Morocco
Health

EU food safety alert issued after Hepatitis A detected in strawberries imported into Spain from Morocco

Spanish farmers have demanded "urgent measures" from central Government and the European Union, believing the problem may due to the irrigation of farms in Morocco with faecal water

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Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 15:30

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The Valencian association of farmers (AVA-ASAJA) in Spain has expressed its "concern" and demanded "urgent measures" to central Government and the European Union after a notification was issued on Monday, 4 March, on the EU's RASFF (Rapid Alert System Feed and Food) portal that warns of the "presence of Hepatitis A in strawberries from Morocco" detected at an entry point of Spain.

According to the notification, the risk classification is "serious" because it exceeds the "maximum permitted level of absence/25g" of this substance which AVA-ASAJA stresses "poses a danger to public health and which may have appeared in the food due to the irrigation of farms with faecal water".

In view of this new health alert due to fruit and vegetable imports from the country the organisation, chaired by Cristóbal Aguado, has sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, to ask him to "urgently ask the Moroccan government for explanations and to specify what measures it intends to take to prevent this type of thing from happening again".

In the same vein, AVA-ASAJA urged Planas to "convey to the competent authorities of the European Union that all strawberries coming from Morocco should undergo a thorough health inspection and, in the event that more health alerts are detected in other fruit and vegetables from third countries, controls should be extended to those products, because the health of consumers is at stake". The demand has also been sent to ASAJA Brussels to address the problem in the EU institutions.

What is Hepatitis A and what are the symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver due to the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which is spread mainly when an uninfected (and unvaccinated) person ingests water or food contaminated by the faeces of an infected person".

Symptoms include yellow skin or eyes, not wanting to eat, upset stomach, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, dark urine of light-coloured stools and diarrhoea.

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