Berry scrutiny no better after hep A outbreak

As well, hundreds of jobs have been lost in the department responsible for checking potential food hazards.

The revelations emerged at a Senate estimates hearing on Monday when agriculture department officials were grilled on what they had done to quell public concern about food contamination.

Eighteen people have so far been diagnosed with hepatitis A linked to imported frozen berries, a week after a nationwide recall was issued for a range of products.

Secretary Dr Paul Grimes (PhD) said the department was still working on its formal response to the berries outbreak, but it would be backed by a “proper evidence base”.

“We’ve been provided advice and we’re giving active consideration as to what measures we can take,” Dr Grimes told the hearing in Canberra.

“But we have not made changes on surveillance rates for berries broadly at this stage.”

All of the recalled product