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Posted on Thu. Jul. 24, 2014 - 12:30 am EDT

Local officials warn of bad fruit

Retailers post signs of possible listeria contamination

MORE INFORMATION
About listeria infections

Listeriosis, a serious infection caused by the bacterium listeria monocytogenes, is the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning. People usually become infected from eating contaminated foods.

The CDC estimates about 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths occur each year in the United States.

The disease strikes particularly hard in pregnant women and newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. These groups account for 90 percent of listeria infections. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers eat contaminated food during pregnancy.

– Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is warning people who have bought fresh fruit the past few weeks of a potential contamination that could cause serious food-borne illnesses.

Local officials warned customers Wednesday of a recall of whole, fresh fruits sold at grocery store chains nationwide after concerns of potential listeria contamination.

Costco, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Trader Joe’s stores have all posted notices about the recalls and are urging customers who bought the produce to discard it, according to the health department.

Listeria monocytogenes is the bacterium that causes listeriosis, a serious infection that is the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning.

Wawona Packing Co. announced Sunday it was voluntarily recalling lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines, plums and pluots that were packed at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12 because of possible contamination with the bacterium.

The recalled product stickers will read “Sweet2Eat,” according to the company’s website.

At this time, it is unclear how the problem may have occurred, according to a letter posted on the company website by Wawona Packing President Brent Smittcamp.

“After a sample tested positive, the company shut down the implicated packing lines, retrofitted equipment, sanitized the facility and retested,” Smittcamp’s letter said. Subsequent tests have been negative for the food-borne illness, according to Smittcamp.

As a result, Wegmans Food Markets Inc. has also recalled several of its baked goods that contain fruit from Wawona Packing Co., including cakes, pies, tarts and other pastries. There are no Wegmans Food Markets in the Midwest. All company stores are in seven states on the East Coast.

The most common symptoms of listeriosis include fever and muscle aches, often preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues. No confirmed illnesses have been linked to consumption of the products, but customers who experience symptoms are urged to see a doctor.

Pregnant women and newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for a more serious infection. Pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get listeria infections, which can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

For a full list and photos of the recalled products, go to www.FDA.gov. For information on listeria, go to www.allencountyhealth.com.

vsade@jg.net


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