Dubai / Emirates Business
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has stated that the official report on FDA’s website does not conform to what has been circulated on social media platforms regarding Egyptian frozen strawberry products and their relationship to the Hepatitis A outbreak that has been reported across eight US states.
MOCCAE said that it has coordinated with relevant food control authorities (Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Dubai Municipality, Sharjah Municipality, Municipality and Planning Department in Ajman, Umm Al Quwain Municipality, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality and Fujairah Municipality) to clarify the information to the consumer.
After thorough investigations and reviewing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, MOCCAE and specialized official teams from concerned authorities have detected discrepancies between what has been circulated on social media and what is stated on FDA’s website.
The official report issued by the US Food and Drug Administration stated that 119 people with Hepatitis A illness have been reported from eight US states. An epidemiological monitoring team of several US government agencies was formed to investigate and determine the causes of the outbreak. The preliminary results indicated that most of the cases that have been recorded had consumed smoothies containing frozen strawberries imported from Egypt at well-known cafés across the USA. The US authorities are still coordinating with Egyptian authorities to validate the results. The report stated that there was no further information indicating the existence of external cases of Hepatitis A. Nor was there any information about the existence of other American food outlets using strawberries contaminated with the Hepatitis A virus.
The report provided guidance for restaurants and institutions using strawberries and other products to ensure the implementation of proper hygiene procedures at all levels in preparing products – including washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, among others. The report also provided consumers with information about Hepatitis A and what they should do if they show symptoms of illness due to consumption of frozen strawberries.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment urges the public to refrain from posting or circulating any news on social media platforms without contacting the concerned authorities to verify and validate the credibility of that information before posting.