November 18, 2018

If You Bought Fruit Recalled for Listeria, Here’s What to Do

We have received quite a few responses to the story about the recall of fruit from Sam’s Club, Costco, and Trader Joe’s stores for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. It’s difficult to hear about this story, especially if you have already consumed the fruit and fed it to your family. Here’s what to do.

Fruit Recalled for Listeria ContaminationFirst, make sure you actually bought the recalled fruit. The FDA has published the Wawona Packing List that contains all of the fruit with lot and BlockID numbers. You can also see all the pictures of the packaging and crates with the UPC numbers and product sizes at the FDA web site. If you aren’t sure if you did buy the recalled products, contact the store where you purchased the fruit; they should be able to tell you if you did buy it.

Secondly, if you ate the fruit and have experienced symptoms of listeriosis, the disease caused by Listeria bacteria, see your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or elderly. If the fruit was eaten by a child and that child is sick, get her to a doctor as soon as possible. Listeriosis is relatively uncommon, but up to 2,500 people do contract it every year in this country. For pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriage and stillbirth, so treatment is very important. There are medical tests for Listeria bacteria.

Third, if you ate the fruit and have not experienced symptoms, monitor yourself for the signs of the illness for the next 70 days. Unfortunately, that is how long it can take for the symptoms to manifest. Those symptoms are flu-like, and include fever, muscle aches, upset stomach, diarrhea, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance, and confusion. Pregnant women may only have a very mild illness, but complications can be severe. Once again, if you do feel ill see your doctor and tell her that you ate this recalled fruit.

And fourth, if you purchased the fruit, you should discard it or return it to the place of purchase. Discard it in a sealed container so animals can’t get at it; they could become carriers of the bacteria. After you have handled the fruit, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria is killed by cooking temperatures, but if you made jam with the fruit, you may want to contact an extension agent at your state’s university system for advice, or ask your doctor.

Then you need to clean your kitchen. Listeria bacteria can be destroyed with a mild bleach solution. First wash the surfaces with hot soapy water, dry them, then mix 1 teaspoon bleach in 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Let it stand for a few minutes, then pat dry with paper towels. Clean your fridge, since these bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, your sink, cutting board, counter, reusable grocery bags, towels, cupboard knobs and handles, and any surfaces or utensils that may have come into contact with the fruit.

And finally, do not panic. You are aware of the situation and are taking control. As of this writing, no illnesses have been officially reported to public health officials. And remember that listeriosis can be treated. By the way, anyone who wrote to us with medical questions or concerns will be addressed privately.

Comments

  1. my daughter is 12 months old Friday when I pick her up from her dad she was eating a plum I don’t know where they bought it from or if it was one of these contaminated fruits but today is Monday she started running fever yesterday she’s had a fever today and I just seen that post online about the recalled fruit should I take her to the hospitalalso she hasn’t had any diarrhea just been really cranky and a fever for 2 days

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Please take her to see your doctor. It’s the only way you’ll have any peace of mind. And be sure to mention this recall; doctors don’t always keep up with recalls and outbreaks.

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi,
    I bought the peaches that were on recall. I made jam with them. They were boiled for 3 min to get he skins off then crushed then boiled for 5 min before the pectin was added then returned to a hard boil before the sugar was added then hard boiled for 5 min then canned and processes in a water bath for 15 min time did not start until there was a solid boil. Did this killed the listeria? I processed 40 jars of jam. I know the sliced peaches I did I will throw out just wondering about the jam. Thank you.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Another reader said she contacted her Extension agent at the University in her state and was told to throw out the jam. She made jam with the peaches too. I know what hard work it is to can, so I’m sorry to have to tell you that. But you don’t want to get listeriosis either.

      • I ate this peaches that my wife bought from Costco and I start to have the trots twice this morning, don’t know if this is caused by the peaches , do I need to see doctor, anyone else have same problem ? any suggestions?

  3. Lora Hickman says:

    My granddaughter and I ate some of the peaches from Sam’s Club in the past few weeks. I purchased more peaches recently, after the recall, but before I heard about it. Will these new peaches be safe to eat? They are now in the same fruit drawer in my refrigerator that the other peaches were in. Should I discard them and wash the drawer with bleach? Did the recall affect ALL Sam’s Clubs? Do we have to worry about other produce that was purchased there in case it came in contact with the peaches? Thanks

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I would discard the peaches and wash the drawer with bleach, just to be safe. And remember that this recall does not mean that all of the recalled produce is contaminated. The recall means they found some Listeria bacteria on a sample. Just monitor yourself for flu-like symptoms for the next two months. If you do get sick see your doctor and tell her you ate this recalled fruit.

      • Lora Hickman says:

        Thanks for the reply. When I got the peaches home, I put them in a paper bag that was moved around the kitchen. I touched these peaches, then worked around the kitchen, cooked, etc. At this time, I’m thinking that pretty much every surface could have been contaminated, along with anyone that came in contact. Seems like it’s just going to be a wait and see if anyone gets sick. Hopefully, the peaches did not carry the bacteria.

        Again, thanks for replying, answering questions, and for the info you are sharing

        • Linda Larsen says:

          You’re welcome. Please don’t worry too much about this. Just clean your kitchen well. And remember that a recall doesn’t mean all the fruit is contaminated with bacteria. The odds are that your kitchen is perfectly fine and you will be too. It’s just that you don’t want to take a chance with this bacteria. But now you’re informed so you are in control!

  4. Vanessa says:

    Sorry, so it’s only the fruit that was sold packaged in stores? Like the fruit in clamshell packaging or 2 lb. bags? Or is anything with the Sweet 2 Eat sticker contaminated? Thanks!

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I wouldn’t eat anything with a Sweet 2 Eat sticker. Wawona Packing Company has issued a list of the recalled fruits, but unless you bought a crate, I don’t know if those identifying marks would be on it. Call your store and ask to speak to the produce manager. He or she should be able to tell you if they carried any of the recalled fruit.

  5. can you be tested before symptoms apppear? especially if you are in the high risk category or do you need to wait until you are ill?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Please call your doctor and ask. As far as I know you do have to wait until symptoms appear. But since it can take such a long time for symptoms do appear, I think it’s a good idea to let your doctor know you ate this recalled fruit; ask to have it noted on your chart. Listeria infections can be dismissed as the flu since the symptoms are so similar.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Is there anything we can do before getting sick? I have a weakened immune system (Crohn’s disease, so I take medication to suppress my immune system). I bought nectarine’s from Walmart weeks ago, and I’m not sure the brand. Since I am in the at risk group, is there anything I can do now? Waiting 70 days is a long time to make sure I’m okay.

    • Linda Larsen says:

      I know that waiting 70 days is terrible, and I sympathize. But please don’t worry unduly. Antibiotics will treat a Listeria infection. I’m not a doctor, so the best thing I can tell you is to call your doctor and ask. Remember, doctors are there for reassurance as well as for diagnoses.

  7. My kids have eaten peaches that are on the list….I have 1 left. Does the listeria sit in their system or Do they have to have symptoms in order for the Listeria test to show if they have it? Thank you

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Call your doctor for the best advice. As far as I know you need to have symptoms to be tested.

  8. I am 32 weeks pregnant and did eat some of the peaches, do I need to contact my Dr or should I be concerned if I don’t have any symptoms yet??

    • Linda Larsen says:

      If you’re worried please call your doctor, and make sure to monitor yourself for the symptoms of listeriosis. If you do get sick your doctor can treat you.

  9. myself and family have eaten peaches that were recently bought from Costco. I had stored them in a veggie drawer in my refrig and not that I see this article I have thrown away any peaches that were left. However, do I also need to throw any food that was in the drawer of the refrig next to the peaches? Some fruit was in the drawer in green bags, but other stuff was loose and next to the peaches…

    • Linda Larsen says:

      If I were you I would throw them away; Listeria bacteria isn’t something you want to gamble with.

      • ok also, will the dishwasher kill the bacteria on food utensils or do I still need to bleach the knife and cutting board, etc?

        • Linda Larsen says:

          If your dishwasher water reaches 140°F it will kill the bacteria, but if not, the bacteria can survive. Listeria is very tough and difficult to kill. Bleach is still the best way to go.

  10. Do I need to throw all the food in fridge away since the bacteria was growing in there?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      You don’t need to throw all the food away; just discard any fresh produce that was next to the recalled fruit.

  11. Brigitte says:

    I have the fruit listed as potentially contaminated, ate much more than remains. If i ( or anyone) presents in the near future with the infection but the fruit has been disposed of or return to the store, how would an individual be able to prove that they actually had consumed that fruit?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      It’s proved through medical tests. All bacteria have genetic fingerprints, and those are found in any outbreak by testing the product and the people who ate it. The test is called pulsed field-gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and it’s very reliable.

  12. Kristina Mason says:

    Also my baby has already ate a few of the peaches, he is 8 months old

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Keep an eye on him for any flu-like symptoms for the next 70 days (that’s how long it can take for symptoms to appear), and if he does get sick, see the pediatrician and tell her he ate fruit recalled for Listeria.

  13. Kristina Mason says:

    What if you soaked all your produce together in vinegar solution, do I need to throw it all away?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      Vinegar won’t kill the bacteria. Yes, please throw it away or return to the store for a refund. Then wash your hands well in soapy warm water, and wash anything that the fruit touched in a mild bleach solution. Listeria bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, so it’s very important that you clean the fridge, inside and out.

  14. Can the fruit be washed with Veggi wash solutions or vinegar and water or any other solution to be made safe to eat?

    • Linda Larsen says:

      No. Listeria bacteria can only be killed with bleach or heat. And never wash fruit with bleach or anything that isn’t approved for food use. It’s impossible to wash bacteria completely from any food.

  15. Thanks so much that helped a lot and thank the Lord it can be treated.

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