The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the use of porcine blood(products) in food could be a risk for a hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. HEV RNA was detected in 33/36 batches of (non-heated) liquid products and in 7/24 spray dried powder products. Contamination levels varied among the products, but were highest in liquid whole blood, plasma and fibrinogen reaching levels of 2.2 × 102 to 2.8 × 102 HEV genome copies per 0.2 g. Sequence analyses revealed genotype 3 strains, of which two were 100% (493 nt) identical to recently diagnosed HEV cases, although no direct epidemiological link was established. The industry provided information on processing of blood products in (ready-to-eat)-meat. From this, it was concluded that blood products as an ingredient of processed meat may not be sufficiently heated prior to consumption, and therefore could be a vehicle for transmission.
- Meat products