Updated, July 23, 8:55 a.m.: The recall of stone fruit has expanded to include fruit from Ralphs and Food 4 Less, Wawona Packing Co. said in an updated statement. The recalled fruit includes peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots. Wawowa says that the recalled products were shipped directly to retailers and wholesalers who resell the products, and "we do not know the locations of the companies that purchased the products from our direct customers." That's reassuring. If this recall looks anything like previous ones, expect it to expand again, so take all reasonable precautions.
July 22, 11:39 a.m.: Peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots sold at Costco, Trader Joe's, Sam’s Club and Walmart stores are being recalled for potential listeria contamination.
The fruit was processed by Wawona Packing Co. at its Cutler, Calif. warehouses between June 1 and July 12. The recall is nationwide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Internal testing at Wawona revealed the potential Listeria contamination, according to the FDA. The facility was shut down and sanitized, and subsequent tests have been negative.
"We are aware of no illnesses related to the consumption of these products," Wawona President Brent Smittcamp said in a statement. "By taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even the slightest risk to public health, and that is our priority." (It can take up to two months for listeria symptoms to emerge, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control.)
Wawona has notified its business customers and asked that they remove the recalled products from their stores, according to the FDA. The company has posted photos of the fruit, its packaging, UPC codes and other identifying information on its website. Much of it is labeled “Sweet 2 Eat.”
Trader Joe's has urged customers not to eat the fruit (most of it labeled “organic”) and to return it for a full refund.
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In addition, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. has recalled several of its baked goods that contain fruit from Wawona, including cakes, pies, tarts and other pastries. For a full list, click here.
The CDC estimates about 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths are caused by Listeriosis, the infection caused by listeria, each year in the United States. An estimated 18% of patients with listeriosis die, according to the CDC. The largest listeria outbreak in U.S. history occurred in 2011: cantaloupes from Colorado’s Jensen Farms sickened 147 people and killed nearly three dozen. The farmers faced criminal prosecution and were sentenced to five years’ probation, including six months of home detention. The farm went bankrupt.