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Fruit Recall Hits Trader Joe's, Costco, Wal-Mart Stores

Fears of possible listeria contamination have led to a national recall of whole peaches, nectarines and other fruits packed by a California company. No illnesses have been reported, but the Wawona Packing Co. has told retailers such as Wal-Mart, Costco and Trader Joe's to pull its products.

The recall applies to "certain lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12, 2014," according to a recall bulletin from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has posted product images of the recalled fruits' packaging.

"Fruit sold as individual pieces should have a sticker on it; the recalled product stickers will read 'Sweet2Eat,' " Wawona says.

Wawona sells produce to national wholesalers; as of Tuesday, "Costco, Trader Joe's, Kroger and the Walmart Corp. — which operates Walmart and Sam's Club stores, have all posted notices about the fruit recall on their websites," CNN reports.

Wawona reportedly detected listeria in tests of its own equipment after being alerted to a possible contamination by an Australian customer; it says it has eliminated the problem at its plant. The company posted a list of "lot codes" to help identify the produce in question.

"We are aware of no illnesses related to the consumption of these products" company President Brent Smittcamp said in a news release. "By taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even the slightest risk to public health, and that is our priority."

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious illnesses and even death in those at the most risk: young children and people with weakened immune systems. It can also pose serious risks to pregnant women.

In 2011, listeria killed 33 people in 28 states — a devastating outbreak that stands as one of the most deadly in U.S. history.

As the National Institutes of Health reminds us, listeria is a bacteria that can pose particular problems because it can keep growing even in foods that are refrigerated.

The FDA adds, "Consumers with questions may contact Wawona Packing at 1-888-232-9912, M-F, 8am-5pm ET, or visit www.wawonapacking.com."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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