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Walmart, Aldi, Sprouts, others received fruit linked to deadly Listeria outbreak

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More details have become available abut recalled peaches, plums and nectarines linked to a deadly outbreak of infections from Listeria monocytogenes.

Eleven people from coast to coast have been sickened with one reported dead and the other 10 hospitalized. Whole genome sequencing linked the patients together using DNA fingerprints of the pathogen.

The recalled fruit can be identified by looking for the following information. Individual pieces of fruit with PLU stickers on the fruit labeled USA-E-U, containing the following numbers:

  • Yellow peach: 4044 or 4038
  • White peach: 4401
  • Yellow nectarine: 4036 or 4378
  • White nectarine: 3035
  • Red plum: 4042
  • Black plum: 4040

HMC Farms peaches, plums, or nectarines were sold in HMC Farms-branded bags and Signature Farms peaches or nectarines were sold in Signature Farms-branded bags and labeled with 6359 printed on a white sticker on the bag.

The recalled fruit was sold at the following retailers and may have been sold elsewhere. The recalled fruit was distributed nationwide and sold at retail stores in bags or as individual pieces of fruit (see descriptions above).  Additionally, the recalled fruit was sold to other manufacturers who may have frozen and/or relabeled the recalled fruit for resale under another brand.

For photos of product packing and labels use the following recall links. 

FDA is aware of the following retailers who received recalled products:

  • The following Albertsons Company banner stores: ACME, Albertsons, Balducci’s Food Lovers Market, Carrs, Eagle, Haggen, Kings Food Markets, Lucky, Pavilions, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, and Vons in AK, Southern CA, CO, CT, DE, ID, ME, MD, MA, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OR, PA, RI, SD, UT, VT, VA, D.C., WA, and WY
  • ALDI
    stores in AL, AR, DE, GA, IL, IA, KS, KY, MI, MS, MO, NE, NJ, NC, OK, PA, SC, TN, WI, and VA (includes individual peaches and 2 lb. bags of peaches, nectarines, or plums)

The recalls cover fruit sold from May 1 through Nov. 15 this year. It also covers fruit sold during that same time period in 2022. Recalled fruit is past expiration and no longer available for sale in retail stores but could have been frozen by consumers. Fresh whole peaches, plums, and nectarines currently available for sale at retail are not included in this recall.

The FDA is recommending that consumers and businesses do not eat, sell, or serve the recalled peaches, plums, or nectarines. Anyone who previously purchased fresh peaches, plums, and nectarines and then froze them, should throw them away if they are part of the recall because freezing does not kill Listeria monocytogenes. If you cannot tell if they are part of the recall you should throw them away.

Anyone who received or purchased recalled peaches, plums and nectarines should use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces and containers that may have come in contact with the recalled fruit to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This includes baking or canning tools, cutting boards, knives, countertops, refrigerators, freezers, and storage bins.

About the outbreak

Federal and state partners continue to investigate the outbreak as new matching cases have been identified. Samples from sick people were collected from Aug. 22, 2018, to Aug. 16, 2023. This suggests that peaches, plums, and nectarines, are a likely source of this outbreak. 

On Oct. 23, 2023, FDA collected samples of 2-pound bagged peaches at The HMC Group Cold Storage Inc. in Kingsburg, CA, and on Nov. 7, 2023, the samples were reported positive and a match to the outbreak strain by Whole Genome Sequencing.  

The patients are spread across the country: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten or handled any recalledfruitand developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. 

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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