Frozen pomegranate has been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in NSW
Frozen pomegranate has been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in NSW

Coles frozen fruit linked to hepatitis A outbreak

NSW Health is advising consumers who have any imported frozen pomegranate purchased from Coles supermarkets to not consume the product after it was linked to a hepatitis A outbreak.

Seven people were diagnosed with hepatitis A after having eaten the imported product purchased from the big supermarket.

The link was identified yesterday and NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority said today they were working with Entyce Food Ingredients Pty Ltd, which is conducting a precautionary recall of its Creative Gourmet branded frozen pomegranate product sold at Coles supermarkets.

NSW Health is also working with other States and Territories to determine if they also have locally acquired cases of hepatitis A with this strain - genotype 1B.

NSW Food Authority CEO Lisa Szabo said the Authority is working with the company, NSW Health and other State and Commonwealth agencies on the investigation.

Dr Szabo said the outbreak was linked to the imported frozen product only - fresh pomegranate had not been implicated.

"Consumers with this product in their freezers should not consume it and should return the product to the place of purchase for a refund," Dr Szabo said.

"Full details of the recall are available on the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website."

This is not the first time the company's products have been linked to hepatitis A - their Creative Gourmet mixed berries were recalled in February 2015 and again in June last year to test whether the imported berries had caused outbreaks.

Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard said NSW Health were working with the NSW Food Authority to confirm if the infection can be definitively linked to frozen pomegranate product sold at Coles supermarkets despite the seven affected people having consumed thr product.

"Symptoms of hepatitis A take from 15 to 50 days to develop. It is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene," Dr Sheppeard said.

"Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.

"In most people the symptoms resolve after a few weeks with supportive treatment, mainly rest and fluids.

"People who have eaten the frozen pomegranate should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear."

So far this year there have been nine locally acquired cases of hepatitis A in NSW and those affected by the current outbreak are based in Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong.



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