Each year, one in six Americans gets sick from consuming contaminated food or beverages, and the medical and industry costs of these illnesses exceed $15.5 billion. A significant cause of foodborne illness is contaminated fresh produce, which leads to nearly half of cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that each year, norovirus leads to 400,000 emergency room visits and up to 800 deaths. It is also estimated that 1 in 14 children will visit an emergency room by the age of five, due to a norovirus infection.
Hepatitis A is one of the most common hepatitis viruses. In 2016, the CDC estimated 4,000 cases of Hepatitis A in the U.S. Of those cases, 70 patients died with Hepatitis A (HAV) as a contributing cause of death.
In an effort to prevent future outbreaks, the FDA has begun a round of microbiological surveillance sampling on frozen berries. The agency is collecting frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries, and frozen blackberries in retail packaging and completing testing for both HAV and norovirus.