Good product going bad? Boy gets sick after eating fermented pomegranate seeds

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) —  It's easy to find prepackaged fruit when you're cruising through the grocery store, and many parents find it perfectly safe to serve to their children. But, what if something goes wrong inside the packaging?

A Milwaukee mom says her 11-year-old son got sick after eating some prepackaged pomegranate seeds.

"We are walking through produce and he says, 'What about this?' and it's cute for kids, I'm assuming, and it says POM POMS," said Rachel Mishler.

Mishler let her son Dominic get a cup of POM POMS Fresh Arils.

"We get outside and he already had it opened up and he was drinking the juice," Mishler said.

"And, I said, 'Ma, taste this — smell it — tastes like what the doctor rubs on you when you get your shot,'" said Mishler's son, Dominic D'Amato.

"First, I smelled it and it does smell like alcohol. Then, I tasted it and it tasted just like red wine, and then I said, 'You know what? No more eating this,'" Mishler said.

By then, Dominic had already had most of the cup and when they home got home — Dominic wasn't feeling well.

"I told my mom I felt like I was going to throw up and…like 30 minutes later I threw up," Dominic recalled.

Mishler says she called Poison Control and Dominic's doctor because he doesn't have a strong immune system.

Rachel and Dominic

Rachel Mishler and her son, Dominic, share their experience with POM POMS Fresh Arils with Contact 6.

"He's throwing up all night and, finally, he got the gagging and the gagging exacerbated the asthma -- so I was giving him breathing treatments and he said, 'I don't feel right. I don't want pomegranates ever again,'" Mishler said.

Mishler called the store and the manager tried other POM Wonderful products and agreed they'd fermented. The manager pulled the remaining products from the shelves.

Judging from complaints on the company's website and it's Facebook page — other customers aren't happy either.  One customer wrote on the website, "BAD…when I opened the package it smelled and tasted like nail polish remover."

On the Facebook page more comments about fermentation can be found. One user wrote, in part, "…seems pretty normal for your product to go bad. I will not be wasting my money ever again."

Another Facebook user commented, "This happened the last time we bought some, but we were hoping it was just a fluke."

Rachel Mishler says she knows someone else who had a similar experience with the product.

"A nurse I work with said the same exact thing. He told me, 'I think I got drunk off a cup of pomegranate seeds,'" Mishler said.

FOX6's Contact 6 contacted POM Wonderful and the company sent the following statement:

"POM POMS Fresh Arils contain only our fresh fruit with no preservatives.  Fermentation is a natural process that happens to fresh fruit over time, and on occasion, the fruit ferments faster than normal."

POM Wonderful went on to say the product has a limited shelf life and it works with the retail partners to ensure the quality and safety of its products. If you get a bad product, POM says it will give you a refund or a voucher for your next purchase.

Mishler wanted to do more.

"I don't feel that the word has gotten out there. I don't feel like the public is safe," Mishler said.

Mishler filed a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration. When Contact 6 asked the FDA about Mishler's complaint and if there had been others — it responded with this statement:

"FDA does not have any evidence that these types of products that comply with federal and state regulations are unsafe for consumption."

If you're worried about whether or not the product is safe — smell it first, especially before giving it to your kids.

6 comments

  • David Fuller

    In this case, the company did no wrong. It IS a natural reaction that fruit goes thru, especially when not canned. Lesson learned here is to check what you give your kids instead of just grabbing something and handing it to them. Same thing if you open a bottle of wine, then recap it and put it in the fridge for a few days. It will ferment and not taste right and may make you sick.

  • John G Williams

    I eat Arils all the time… The packages are sort of “Aerated” so you can sniff then, and tell right away if they have fermented or spoiled. They have really short shelf lives…

    The most common reason people have complaints on them, is because “THEY” (the person… not the company) did not look at the expiration date on the package. Another reason is trying something simply “because” they can and then deciding after the fact that it was gross or yucky…

    Why did mom let her son get something that she didn’t know if he would like? If he’s immune challenged? Then his diet should be better monitored ad mom should be better educated, No Exceptions…

    • Betty burton

      John are you a parent? Don’t you think pomegranate ails would be a good choice for kids to consume?how do you find out if you or your child likes something unless you buy it first??Wrong for accusing parent of basic neglect,,on food choices,,John,Do you work for this company??john Have AGood Day!!

  • Christine Maloney

    I just had pomegranate seeds last night, & I know that they didn’t taste right. After tasting three holes spoonfuls and realizing that something wasn’t right, I had to stop eating them as a no they smelled just like nail polish remover. I don’t feel that the public is safe unless you have done your research, and googled what’s wrong with the pomegranate seeds you may not know. So it’s easy to say that you can tell just by a small if you puncture is within the packaging, but unless you really check on it you’re not going to know until you get them home. I didn’t know it until I got them home opened one up Andrea and tasted it and realize something that tastes right. Palm should make sure that they do better work with this and make sure they fix it. They could get people sick, or worse like the little boy could get some killed. I’m very upset that now I will forever have this feeling of negativity towards pomegranate seeds it may never have pomegranate seeds again.

  • Mark

    Ok, for all you cream puffs, this is a fruit and fruits do go bad. Always check the expiration date and SMELL it before you eat it. Don’t ruin a great product just because you are ignorant and entitled. Try it with vanilla ice cream and you will see that it’s here to stay.

    • Mark

      And (yawn) I do not work for this company, never have and never will, I have no investments in this company or its affiliates, am not related to anyone who is associated with this company either by blood or otherwise, and do not stand to gain by the company’s stock, stock options, bond options, sports tickets, political contributions, or general goodwill.

Comments are closed.