Officials with NSW Health are advising consumers who have any imported frozen pomegranate purchased from Coles supermarkets in their freezer to not consume the product.
Seven locally acquired cases of hepatitis A have been identified in which all had consumed the imported product from the supermarket.
NSW Health is working with other States and Territories to determine if they also have locally acquired cases of hepatitis A with this strain – genotype 1B.
Director of Communicable Diseases at NSW Health, Dr Vicky Sheppeard said NSW Health is working with the NSW Food Authority to confirm if the infection can be definitively linked to the Coles product.
On Saturday, Entyce Food Ingredients Pty Ltd announced a precautionary recall of its Creative Gourmet branded frozen pomegranate product sold at Coles supermarkets.
The following was posted to the Creative Gourmet website:
We have actioned a precautionary recall of a relatively small batch of Creative Gourmet Frozen Pomegranate 180g sold only through Coles supermarkets. All Creative Gourmet Pomegranate best before dates up to and including 21/03/20 are being recalled.
All product tested to date has been cleared and has not revealed a link to Hepatitis A but the health and safety of our consumers is of paramount importance. Recognising any concern that may exist in the community, we are exercising abundant caution by activating this voluntary recall immediately.
Consumers can be confident that the recalled product Creative Gourmet Frozen Pomegranate Arils 180g is an isolated one and no other Creative Gourmet products are affected.
We would ask you to return the pack to Coles for a full refund.
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.
“This outbreak appears to be linked to imported frozen product. Fresh pomegranate has not been implicated, nor have Australian grown frozen pomegranate products,” Dr Szabo said.
“Consumers with this product in their freezers should not consume it and should return the product to the place of purchase for a refund.