Another listeria outbreak has hit the United States and sparked a nationwide recall. This time it has originated from a Wawona, California warehouse between June 1 and July 2014. The outbreak has affected Costco, Trader Joe's and yes even Walmart. These stores are recalling peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots that were packed at the warehouse. The three stores involved have all posted about the recall on their websites.
There have been internal testing for the bacteria and it has tested positive for the potential listeria contamination consequently shutting the warehouse down and sanitizing it. Although there have been no reported food borne illnesses, all subsequent tests have been negative, so the measures of sanitation are precautionary. The stores are urging people not to eat any of the fruits with large pits and to return them for a full refund.
What is Listeria?
Listeria monocytogenes is a food borne stomach illness caused by contaminated food with the bacteria which can cause death. This bacterium can come in several different ways. It can be in soil and water, vegetables that have been irrigated with the contaminated soil and water, animals that carry the bacteria can also be the contaminate.
It is smart to recognize the symptoms of listeria. The most common are gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, fever, and muscle aches. Infants, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for a more serious infection.
Outbreaks have decreased since 2001 however the largest outbreak in U S history happened in 2011 in Colorado when the cantaloupes sickened 147 people and killed almost three dozen. The farmers who were responsible were sentenced to five years probation plus six months of in-home retention.