April 15, 2015 / 7:01 AM / 5 years ago

Australia's Patties Foods says finds no hepatitis in frozen berries

SYDNEY, April 15 (Reuters) - Australia’s Patties Foods Ltd said on Wednesday laboratory tests had cleared its frozen mixed berries of carrying hepatitis A, two months after it recalled the product amid concerns it had caused an outbreak of the disease.

Since the Feb. 16 recall, the authorities have said more than two dozen people have been diagnosed with the disease after eating Patties Foods frozen berries that were grown in Chile and China before being packaged in a Chinese plant.

Australia’s Victoria state government said at the time that the contamination had been traced back to China.

On Wednesday, Sydney-listed Patties said it had finished testing the recalled “Nanna’s Mixed Berries” and found no trace of hepatitis in the products.

It added that a separate government test of its products, based on eight randomly chosen packets, found one packet contained a low level trace of hepatitis A, but it was unclear if that level was enough to cause an infection.

The company, however, said it would stop selling the product while it investigated alternative suppliers. Patties Food’s did not name its Chinese suppliers.

Patties shares were trading lower in a weaker overall market but recovered after the announcement to close steady. (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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