The berry industry is likely to benefit from the recent hepatitis A scare from imported frozen berries. Last week, the Ministry for Primary Industries warned berry lovers that there was a risk of contracting hepatitis A from eating imported frozen berries.
Hepatitis A had not been found on berries, but the three people who contracted the disease all regularly ate frozen imported berries. Blueberries New Zealand chairperson Liz Te Amo said there was a tendency for sales of local berries to increase after a health scare, as consumers became wary of imported products, she said.
One berry exporter said sales of New Zealand berries had doubled since a 2015 hepatitis A scare linked to berries imported from China. However, some growers previously said they were concerned that the health warning would lead to a knee-jerk reaction by consumers who would then stop buying local berries, which were not associated with the scare.
It was important for New Zealand berry growers to differentiate their berries from imported berries, he said.