The Food Safety Authority of Ireland is asking people to boil imported frozen berries following a number of unexplained cases of Hepatitis A here.

It renewed the advice, originally issued last year, following the publication of a report into the European-wide outbreak linked to frozen berries.

The report found these berries could still be in circulation. 

The FSAI launched an investigation this month after it became aware of a number of cases of Hepatitis A, which cannot be explained by travel abroad.

It is now investigating any link between the cases and imported frozen berries or other foods.

The outbreak was first identified in May 2013, when Germany reported cases with a travel history to Italy and Italy identified a national increase in the number of Hepatitis A cases.  

To date 1,440 cases have been reported in 12 European countries, 331 of which have been confirmed by genotyping.

The majority of cases were reported in Italy.  Twenty-five cases were reported in Ireland, 21 of which were confirmed. 

FSAI Chief Executive, Prof Alan Reilly said:  "As contaminated imported frozen berries could still be circulating in the food chain, we continue to recommend the boiling of imported frozen berries for at least one minute before eating them.

"This is a precautionary measure and will destroy the virus if it is present. "

"There is no evidence that fresh Irish berries were the cause of the outbreak.

"However, we suggest that - as with all other fruit and vegetables - fresh berries should be washed thoroughly if they are being eaten uncooked," said Prof Reilly.

Frozen imported berries are widely used in the food industry and distributed into the food service sector for use in cooked and ready-to-eat dishes.

Therefore, food businesses using frozen imported berries need to ensure that the berries they use are sourced from reputable suppliers operating effective food safety management systems and comprehensive traceability systems, the FSAI warned.