7 Mar, 2024 @ 11:20
1 min read

Strawberries carrying hepatitis A are detected in southern Spain: 1.5 TONNE shipment came from Morocco – all you need to know


THE EU has issued a food safety alert after a 1.5 tonne shipment of strawberries entering Spain from Morocco was found to contain traces of hepatitis A.

The risk has been classified as ‘serious’ by the EU’s RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) after officials conducted tests on the haul after it arrived in the port of Algeciras.

The Valencian association of farmers (AVA-ASAJA) have called on the central government and the European Union to enact “urgent measures” to prevent a dangerous repeat of the situation.

The 1.5 tonne shipment was found to contain high traces of hepatitis A

Officials believe the strawberries contain hepatitis A, which can cause a highly inflamed liver, due to the irrigation of fruit farms in Morocco with fecal water.

Cristobal Aguado, head of the AVA-ASAJA, has sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, urging him to “urgently ask the Moroccan government for explanations and to specify what measures it intends to take to prevent this type of thing from happening again”.

He also lobbied the under-fire minister to “convey to the competent authorities of the European Union that all strawberries coming from Morocco should undergo a thorough health inspection and, in the event that more health alerts are detected in other fruit and vegetables, controls should be extended to those products because the health of consumers is at stake”.

Port Of Algeciras
The strawberries entered Spain from Morocco via the port of Algeciras. Credit: Cordon Press

Junta president Juanma Moreno stated that “those strawberries should never have entered Spain”.

Authorities have confirmed that the strawberries were detained at the Andalucian port and prevented from entering general circulation.

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver that can cause mild to severe illness. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.

Symptoms include yellow skin or eyes, no appetite, vomiting, stomach pain, fever, dark urine and diarrhea. 


Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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