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Pomegranate kills woman in Australia

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An Australian woman has died after contracting hepatitis A from a packet of frozen pomegranate. The 64-year-old died in South Australia last week in a “rare and tragic” case, state health authorities said. Local officials issued a warning about the Australian-owned Creative Gourmet product in April. It has been linked to 24 cases of hepatitis A nationally. Australians have been urged to check their freezers and discard packets of the frozen fruit.

About 2,000 packets of the Egyptian-grown pomegranate arils were sold. Fresh pomegranate and locally grown products were not affected, authorities said. “The woman’s death is the only death linked to this recalled product nationally to date,” South Australia chief medical officer Prof Paddy Phillips said. Most other people affected had made a full recovery and no further cases were expected, he said.

Hepatitis A, which attacks the liver, is usually spread through faecal matter, transmitted through sex or by touching contaminated food or objects. It typically takes between 15 and 50 days to develop symptoms, which include nausea, fever and yellowing of the skin, local health authorities said.

Entyce Food Ingredients has said the contamination was linked to a “a relatively small batch” of its product. Last year, the company was also forced to pull a selection of its frozen mixed berries products following another hepatitis A outbreak. Earlier this year, seven Australians died after eating melon contaminated with listeria bacteria.

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