• Tony Bosworth

Don’t eat Jordon River Dates - urgent recall of imported dates linked to Hepatitis A outbreak

If you have any Jordan River Dates in your pantry or fridge, do not eat them and bin them now, says NSW Health after an outbreak of a previously unseen strain of dangerous Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus which affects the liver and can cause symptoms including nausea, vomiting, fever and yellowing of the skin, dark urine and pale stools. Symptoms of hepatitis A take from 15 to 50 days to appear after eating a contaminated product.

NSW Health says, “stop eating the product, throw the remainder of the product in the bin or return the dates to the place of purchase for a full refund. Genetic testing of the infected people has identified a unique strain of hepatitis A not previously detected in Australia.”

The strain is identical to a virus strain that caused an outbreak of hepatitis A in the UK earlier this year, found to have been caused by fresh Medjool dates imported from Jordan.

NSW Health has identified three locally acquired cases of hepatitis A in recent weeks, believed to have acquired their infections from consuming Jordan River Dates brand of fresh Medjool dates.

The Health department is working with other states and Territories to find out if they also have locally acquired cases of hepatitis A with this strain.

“People who have eaten Jordan River Dates brand of fresh Medjool dates should watch out for symptoms and consult their local doctor as early as possible if symptoms appear,” NSW Health epidemiologist and Manager of Enteric Diseases, Keira Glasgow said.

In most people the symptoms usually go away after a few weeks with supportive treatment, mainly rest and fluids, but some people may be admitted to hospital.

“Those who have consumed the product in the past two weeks may benefit from hepatitis A vaccination, if not already protected. If you are unsure if you have been vaccinated in the past it is safe to be revaccinated. Please check with your doctor,” Ms Glasgow said.

NSW Food Authority CEO Dr Lisa Szabo said the Authority is working with the importer of the dates to minimise the risk to consumers. Details of product recalls are available at the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/industry/foodrecalls/recalls/Pages/Jordan-River-Dates-1kg-&- 5kg.aspx

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