Hepatitis A death linked to frozen pomegranate recall
A South Australian woman has died after contracting hepatitis A from recalled frozen pomegranate.
- A 64-year-old woman has died after contracting hepatitis A
- Her death has been linked to recalled frozen pomegranate
- There have been 24 cases linked to the product nationally
SA Health chief medical officer and chief public health officer Professor Paddy Phillips revealed the 64-year-old woman died last Wednesday after “some time” in hospital.
“This is a rare and tragic case and I offer my sincere condolences to the woman’s family,” Professor Phillips said.
“The majority of people infected with hepatitis A recover fully and the woman’s death is the only death linked to this recalled product nationally to date.
“The incubation period for hepatitis A is generally 15-50 days, so we don’t anticipate further cases because the product was recalled two months ago.
“While we expect most people would have disposed of the recalled product, we urge everyone to double-check freezers and remove any affected products.
“Fresh pomegranate and frozen Australian-grown pomegranate products are not affected.”
Her death had been referred to the Coroner.
The Creative Gourmet 180g frozen pomegranate arils, which are sold at Coles supermarkets, were first recalled in April after a hepatitis A outbreak in New South Wales.
Then in May, SA Health again reminded people to throw away the product, made by Entyce Food Ingredients, after 11 linked hepatitis cases.
Professor Phillips said some 2,000 packets of the fruit — grown in Egypt — were sold.
Of those, 226 packets were returned, but he said they believed many more were thrown away as instructed by health authorities.
He said it was “very rare” to die from hepatitis A.
“Most people usually recover without any consequences but occasionally this does happen,” he said.
He would not say if the woman suffered other medical conditions.
SA Health was told about the woman’s death on Monday, Professor Phillips said.
“We have come out as soon as we found out about it.”
More cases emerged following recall
There have been 24 cases of hepatitis A cases linked to the recalled product nationally, according to SA Health, including two in South Australia.
The other case was of a 33-year-old man who recovered quickly.
The Creative Gourmet brand is owned by Entyce Food Ingredients, which also recalled frozen mixed berries linked to three cases of hepatitis A last year.
Arils are the seed pod inside pomegranates. They are typically used for smoothies and smoothie bowls.
Hepatitis A is usually spread through traces of faeces with the virus in it contaminating hands, objects, water or food and then taken in by mouth, according to SA Health’s website.
Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fever, yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools.
If symptoms appear, people who have eaten Creative Gourmet frozen pomegranate should consult their doctor as early as possible.
In a statement, Entyce Food Ingredients said it was “deeply saddened” by reports of the woman’s death.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the woman’s family,” the Melbourne-based company said.
“Entyce will work closely with health authorities and the SA Coroner to help determine the exact cause of the woman’s death and if there was any direct link with the consumption of frozen pomegranate arils and hepatitis A.”