Three Deaths in Sweden Linked to Imported Raspberries

Sweden’s national food agency, Livsmedelsverket, has confirmed that imported frozen raspberries were the source of a Norovirus food poisoning outbreak that recently caused the deaths of three persons and sickened others at an elderly care home in Ljugby. While the source of supply was not revealed, it was suggested that an infected worker hand-packing the fruit likely contaminated the berries.

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"It is not uncommon for imported frozen raspberries to be contaminated with Norovirus," stated Livsmedelsverket on its website.

Initial symptoms of Norovirus range from upset stomach, nausea and vomiting to diarrhea, fever and muscle pain. The so-called “vomiting bug” impacts senior citizens and those with immune deficiencies more severely than those in the general population.

Others made ill by the virus spread by the consumption of a raspberry parfait dessert during dinner, have since recovered. It has been reported that foodservice personnel at the elderly care facility failed to boil the fruit, in violation of the municipality’s published safety guidelines.

"This confirms the importance of our advice to boil raspberries before serving them. And it is valid especially when serving frozen imported raspberries in retirement homes or hospitals, where those who are eating them may suffer severe symptoms or even die if they are already sick from other diseases before," said Mats Lindbland, an infection control coordinator at Livsmedelsverket.