Thirty people have been affected by the national hepatitis A outbreak linked to contaminated imported frozen pomegranates, in New South Wales (15), Victoria (6), Western Australia (3), South Australia (2), the Northern Territory (2), the Australian Capital Territory (1) and Queensland (1). Unfortunately, one resident of South Australia has died from the illness.
The affected product is Creative Gourmet brand frozen pomegranate arils.
Australian grown and fresh pomegranates are not implicated in this outbreak.
Consumers are advised to not consume the recalled product but to return it to place of purchase for a full refund.
Further information about the affected product is available in the recall advice issued by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
It is likely that only a small proportion of people who have consumed the potentially contaminated pomegranate will become ill. People who have previously received two doses of hepatitis A vaccine are highly likely to be protected.
If you experience any symptoms of hepatitis A: fever, nausea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, followed by dark urine, pale stools and jaundice (yellowing of the eyeballs and skin), please see your doctor for testing and treatment advice.
If you have consumed Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate it is advised that you monitor yourself and others who consumed the product for symptoms of fever, nausea or abdominal discomfort. Symptoms may appear between 15 and 50 days from eating the product. If symptoms appear, see your doctor immediately. There is no need to be tested if you feel well.
In the meantime, practice good hygiene. Steps you can take include:
Anyone who has been previously vaccinated for hepatitis A is considered not at risk of infection. Hepatitis A vaccine is usually given as travel vaccine before overseas travel to areas where hepatitis A is common such as South East Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. NSW Health is not recommending routine hepatitis A vaccination for people who have consumed the recalled products and are well, however if it is less than two weeks since you first ate this product there may be benefit in getting hepatitis A vaccination. Please discuss with your GP.
If you are concerned about your own health or your family’s health, see your doctor or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
Hepatitis A is very rarely transmitted by blood transfusion, although this is not known to have occurred in Australia. As a result:
For more information please see the NSW Health website.
For further information please see hepatitis A disease information.