Imported foods such as shellfish and soft fruits may be contaminated with harmful viruses. Until recently, there was no adequate technology for large-scale virus control of such imports. Together with the French company CEERAM, the University of Barcelona in Spain developed a user-friendly kit to detect hepatitis A in food, which prevents virus outbreaks.
Dozens of cargo ships enter European harbours to deliver shellfish from South America every day. Their loads are usually safe and thousands of Europeans enjoy their oyster dishes. There is always a small chance, however, that some of the oysters are contaminated with a virus such as hepatitis A. This virus may wreak havoc among unsuspecting consumers. Just a few virus particles are enough to cause severe food poisoning. An outbreak may affect thousands of people, even killing some of them. A hypothetical scenario? By no means, says Albert Bosch, microbiologist at the University of Barcelona.
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