NSW Health is urging people who have bought imported frozen pomegranate from Coles not to eat it, after it was linked to cases of hepatitis A.

Seven cases of hepatitis A in NSW have been traced back to imported frozen pomegranate products from Coles supermarkets.

The patients are based in Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast, NSW Health said late on Friday evening.

Genetic testing on some of the cases identified a unique strain of the infection and health authorities are urging anyone who’s bought the frozen fruit from Coles not to eat it.

NSW Health spokeswoman Dr Vicky Sheppeard said symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fever and a yellowing of the skin. These symptoms can take between 15 and 150 days to develop.

“It is caused by a virus that spreads in contaminated food or through poor hygiene,” Dr Sheppeard said in a statement.

“People who have eaten frozen pomegranate from Coles should consult their local doctor as early as possible should symptoms appear.”

If not already vaccinated, those who have consumed this product may benefit from a vaccination.

Jason Hendriks, Operations and Logistics Director at Goldenfruit – fruit wholesaler in Sydney Markets – said that Australians shouldn’t be concerned when purchasing fresh pomegranates that are grown in Australia:

“We’re not implicated in any health scare because we only source locally-grown pomegranates direct from our premium growers in Victoria.”

“Consumers need to know that it’s still okay to eat pomegranate if you are buying fresh and from local growing regions.

“As a rule of thumb, the best place to find quality Aussie produce is at your local fruit and veg shop.”

NSW authorities are working with other states and territories to confirm if the infection can be definitively linked to the Coles product and whether there are other cases of the infection elsewhere.

NSW Food Authority chief executive Lisa Szabo said fresh pomegranate has not been implicated, nor have Australian-grown products.

Goldenfruit supplies to independent providores and greengrocers across NSW. Currently sourcing fresh quality pomegranates from Robinvale and Ardmona near Shepparton VIC, you can find these at any Your Local Greengrocer member retailer. Visit our Store Locator to find your nearest greengrocer.

And to learn more about Australian pomegranates and how to use them, visit our Produce page here!

Original article by SBS News


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