Even as the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries issued a warning that some of the apples and peaches available in the market may be contaminated with hepatitis A virus, health experts revealed that so far there have been no reported cases though they did say that it could take days for the first symptoms to manifest.
According to the reports, one of the workers at Hawke's Bay packhouse who handled Royal Gala and New Zealand Beauty apples and Golden Queen peaches over a period of four days was suffering from hepatitis A infection and could have passed the virus on to the fruits.
Experts say that hepatitis A virus can survive on fruit surfaces for months and can pass on the infection to handlers or consumers.
While it is very rare that people will be contracting the infection from the fruits, ministry deputy director general Scott Gallacher said that some of the infected fruits, sold between February 27 and March 13, have been identified and withdrawn from the market, though over 1400 cartons had been sold. Here is a list of potentially contaminated fruits and the outlets where they were sold
• Royal Gala apples from: All Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value and supermarkets in the North Island.
• Golden Queen peaches from: All Countdown, Fresh Choice, Super Value and supermarkets in the North Island. Pak'n Save, New World and Four Square supermarkets from to Taupo to Kaitaia
• New Zealand Beauty apples from: All Countdown, Fresh Choice and Super Value supermarkets in the South Island.