April 20, 2024

HMC Farms Peaches Listeria Outbreak Sickens 11; 1 Death

The HMC Farms peaches Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has sickened at least 11 people in seven states. One person has sadly died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The peaches were also sold under the brand name Signature Farms.

HMC Farms Peaches Listeria Outbreak Sickens 11; 1 Death

The case count by state is: California (3), Colorado (1), Florida (3), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Michigan (1), and Ohio (1). The patient age range is from 30 to 80 years. Illness onset dates range from August 22, 2018 to August 16, 2023. Of ten people who gave information to investigators, all have been hospitalized. One death was reported from California. One person suffered preterm labor.

There are most likely many more people sickened in this outbreak. Many do not go to a doctor. And this outbreak could still grow, since it takes time between when people get sick, visit a doctor, are diagnosed, and that illness is reported to public health officials.

The PulseNet system was used to find people who are part of this outbreak. Whole genome sequencing, which maps the DNA fingerprint of the pathogen, showed that bacteria from sick people’s samples are closely related genetically. That means that people in this outbreak likely got sick from eating the same food.


Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety lawyer Eric Hageman, who has successfully represented many clients in Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks and wrongful death cases for years, said, “It is tragic that someone died in this outbreak. That should never happen. We hope that since this outbreak is publicized, the case count will not grow.”

On October 23, 2023, the FDA collected a sample of HMC Farms peaches for testing and found Listeria monocytogenes. On November 6, 2023, whole genome sequencing showed that the pathogen in the peaches is closely related to the bacteria taken from patient isolates.

On November 17, 2023, HMC Farms peaches, plums, and nectarines were recalled for Listeria contamination. They were sold in 2022 and 2023. Officials are concerned because while these fruits are no longer available for purchase, it’s likely that some consumers froze the fruit for later use. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria survive freezing temperatures so the fruit could make someone very sick.

The fruit was sold in two pound bags labeled HMC Farms or Signature Farms. The peaches, plums, and nectarines were sold with a sticker that has “USA-E-U” and a number. Yellow peaches have the number 4044 or 4038; white peaches 4401; yellow nectarines 4036 or 4378; white nectarines 3035; red plums 4042; and black plums 4040. These are conventionally grown fruits, not organic. If you bought any of these fruits and froze them, do not eat them. The fruit was sold at Sam’s Clubs and Albertsons stores.

If you the any of these fruits, monitor your health for the symptoms of listeriosis, which can take up to 70 days to appear. First symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, a more serious variation of this illness can develop. Those symptoms include high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, muscle aches, and confusion.

People who are most susceptible to serious complications include the very young, the elderly, anyone with a compromised immune system, and anyone with a chronic health condition such as diabetes. Pregnant women are at special risk from this infection even though their symptoms are usually mild, and can suffer miscarriage and stillbirth.

If you do get sick, see your doctor as soon as possible. You may be part of this HMC peaches Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a food poisoning infection, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores, restaurants, and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.

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