Vietnam is examining Chinese fruit imports as mandated by the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), triggered by the announcement that Chinese fruits shipped to Australia are allegedly contaminated with the hepatitis A virus (HAV).

On February 24, Sai Gon Giai phong (Liberated Saigon) Daily quoted the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s department, saying it received a warning from relevant Australian agencies of 13 suspected cases of HAV after eating frozen mixed fruits from China.

The allegedly contaminated fruits, imported by the Patties Foods Limited, were grown in Chile and China and packaged at a China-based factory.

Also on February 24, the Vietnamese Ministry of Health’s Department of Food Safety and Hygiene asked the DPP to inspect Chinese fruit imports and prepare control measures when necessary.

DPP Director Nguyen Xuan Hong said after receiving the warning, his department requested plant quarantine checkpoints at border gates, especially those along the northern border with China, to thoroughly examine any fruit imports from the country.

Nguyen Thi Ha, head of the Plant Quarantine Sub-Department of Region 7 covering the northern border in Lang Son and Cao Bang provinces, said recent Chinese fruit imports to Vietnam were inspected in line with regulations and did not reveal anything unusual.

It remains unclear whether Vietnam imported any of the aforementioned frozen fruits, Hong noted.

Earlier, foreign media reported that about 450,000 Australians could have consumed packaged fruits with Chinese-origin potentially contaminated with HAV. Eighteen people have been diagnosed with the disease and experts fear more will appear as its incubation period can be up to seven weeks.

More than 70,000 Chinese fruit packages of the Patties Foods Limited are reportedly sold in Australia each week, cited Sai Gon Giai phong.-VNA