180g Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate arils from Coles
180g Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate arils from Coles SA Health

A packaged frozen pomegranate sold in Coles supermarkets is feared to be linked to the increasing hepatitis A cases in South Australia. SA Health reminds consumers to avoid the 180g Creative Gourmet Frozen Pomegranate Arils, which was already recalled last month.

There have been so far 11 confirmed cases of Hep A across Australia. Two of them — a 33-year-old man who was hospitalised and has subsequently been discharged, and a 64-year-old woman who is still in serious condition in a hospital — are from SA, while the nine others are from New South Wales. The frozen product was recalled last month by Entyce Food Ingredients after it was linked to a hepatitis outbreak in NSW.

Dr Fay Jenkins, SA Health’s director of food and controlled drugs, said that while there were currently no laboratory results linking the two SA cases to the outbreak, consumers should still be vigilant of possible contamination.

“We know frozen goods, in particular foods like berries and pomegranate, can sometimes stay in people’s freezers for many months following their purchase,” Dr Jenkins said. “We would ask consumers to check their freezer and dispose of 180g Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate arils packets with any best-before date up to March 21, 2020, or return them to Coles for a full refund. “Fresh pomegranate and frozen Australian-grown pomegranate products are not affected.”

Jenkins added to the Nine Network on Wednesday that people can become sick any time between 15 and 50 days after eating affected products. Hence, it’s possible that the two cases in South Australia ate the product before the recall happened last month.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fever, yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools. Those who suspect they are experiencing any of the symptoms after eating Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate from Coles any time from 15 to 50 days are advised to consult their doctor immediately.