| James Kon |
GRANNY Smith and Gala apples that have just arrived in the country from Bidart Bros of US will not reach the market following a ban by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) and Ministry of Health (MoH).
The measure was set in place by MIPR’s Biosecurity Division over concerns of “listeria monocytogenes” – a bacteria that has allegedly contaminated the apples.
Brunei’s Agrifood’s Laboratory has taken samples of the apples for analysis.
However, the results are not out yet.
The ban, which was announced on Sunday, came after report surfaced that tests by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) found the apples contaminated.
The US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam yesterday said it was aware of the USFDA investigation and the voluntary recall of specific types of apples by several US companies.
USFDA’s statement on the voluntary recall and a summary of its investigation and recommendations can be found at http://www.fda.gov/food/recallsoutbreaksemergencies/outbreaks/ucm427573.
USFDA and the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that this incident was limited to the production of a single US company (Bidart Bros).
Apple production at this Bidart Bros facility constitutes less than one-half of one per cent of total US Gala and Granny Smith apple production.
Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacterium that contaminates food and causes the infection, Listeriosis.
Products contaminated by the bacteria may not show any sign of deterioration (ie physical or smell).
Listeriosis symptoms include high fever, severe headaches, muscle cramps and nausea.
Those at high risk include pregnant women, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
Anyone with the above-mentioned symptoms is advised to seek urgent medical attention.
For further enquiries, members of the public can contact the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood, MIPR via phone at 2388000 or the Biosecurity Division of the MIPR at 2388000 or the Quality Control and Food Safety Division, Health Services Department, MoH at 2331100.