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.
If you have consumed the imported frozen pomegranate and are unwell
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 the imported frozen pomegranate and are well
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:
- Wash wyour hands with soap and hot running water before handling food, after going to the toilet and after handling used condoms or having contact with nappies.
- Clean bathrooms and toilets often, paying attention to toilet seats, handles, taps and nappy change tables.
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.
Information for blood donors
Hepatitis A is very rarely transmitted by blood transfusion, although this is not known to have occurred in Australia. As a result:
- People who have had confirmed hepatitis A are excluded from donating blood for 12 months after their infection.
- People who have been exposed to food that is at higher risk of transmitting hepatitis A are excluded from donating blood for two months after their last exposure, as a precaution. If you consumed Creative Gourmet pomegranate Arils with a best before date up to and including 21/03/2020 they are excluded from donating blood for two months.
- If you consumed the Creative Gourmet brand pomegranate Arils and have already donated blood, please contact the Blood Service on 13 14 95.
Information for health professionals
For more information please see the NSW Health website.
For further information please see hepatitis A disease information.