Chile investigates hepatitis A-tainted raspberries recalled in U.S.

Raspberries are pictured during a harvest season at a farm in Chile March 13, 2020. Picture taken March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Saavedra//File Photo

SANTIAGO, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Chile's government launched an investigation on Tuesday after raspberries from a Chilean company were recalled in the United States due to hepatitis A contamination.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing found the presence of hepatitis A in James Farm brand frozen raspberries from the South American country, a major exporter of raspberries, blueberries, grapes and cherries.

"The Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) has learned of these facts and has ordered an audit of the company," SAG Director Andrea Collado told Reuters, adding that the investigation could lead to a sanctions.

According to the FDA, Exportadora Copramar was recalling 1,260 boxes of raspberries, which were packed in cardboard boxes branded James Farm and sold exclusively at Restaurant Depot/Jetro locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.

The company did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The FDA said there have been no reports of illnesses or adverse reactions related to the fruits. Chilean Minister of Agriculture Esteban Valenzuela called for calm while the case is being investigated.

Valenzuela said that the regulations between the two countries would not stop raspberry exports, but that if problems were found with Copromar's shipments, actions would be "limited to the company ...responsible."

Reporting by Fabian Andrés Cambero; Editing by Sandra Maler

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