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Possible Listeria Contamination Prompts Fruit Recall

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There is a recall of some whole peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots because of possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Several local retailers may have received these products and can provide specific information to consumers. As of July 23, Washtenaw County Public Health has not received any reports of illness associated with this recall.

Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, California is recalling certain lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12,2014 due to the potential of the products being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Images of the of the package labels are available here: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm405945.htm

Retailers include Costco, Sam's, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Whole Foods is recalling prepared foods made with the recalled fruit (fruit kabobs, salsa, juice). Wawona Packing has notified retailers of the specific lots being recalled. Company statements, where available, are linked below.

What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria are found in soil and water. Animals can carry the bacteria without appearing ill and can then contaminate meat and dairy products. Processed foods such as soft cheeses (i.e., feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheese) and deli meats can become contaminated after processing. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, infants, immunosuppressed, persons and those with chronic disease.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. More serious symptoms that may occur and require prompt medical attention: headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance or convulsions. Symptoms usually occur about three weeks after exposure; however, cases have occurred as early as 3 days to as long as 70 days after exposure.

Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or a life-threatening infection of the newborn. 

How is it treated?

Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. In general, no testing or treatment is recommended if an individual is not experiencing any symptoms of infection, even if she or he ate potentially contaminated or recalled foods. If an individual experiences symptoms within two months of eating a potentially contaminated food, he or she should contact a health care provider for advice or treatment.

Prevention

Proper hand washing and good food safety practices can prevent many infections. In addition:

  • Cook all meat products until there is no pink in the middle and the juices run clear.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized or “raw” milk.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses (such as feta, queso blanco, etc.) unless the label says “made with pasteurized milk."
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly with running water and keep them separate from uncooked meats.
  • Wash knives and cutting boards after handling or preparing uncooked food.

Additional information

News release via the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm405943.htm 

Trader Joe's customer update: http://www.traderjoes.com/about/customer-updates-responses.asp?i=108 

Whole Foods recall statement via the FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm406461.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Listeria: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/  

CDC's Fast Facts - Listeriosis

Washtenaw County Public Health Fact Sheet on Listeriosis

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