Stores react to fruit recall

Fred Meyer rewards cards enable store to contact customers

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

Published:

 
photoA recall of stone fruits, including peaches, affects major grocery chains, including Fred Meyer.

Fruit recall information

On the Web:

• For more information on the fruit recall, visit the Wawona Packing Co. website, www.wawonapacking.com.

• For more about listeria infection, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, www.cdc.gov/listeria.

If you've purchased certain stone fruit from local Fred Meyer stores recently, you may be getting a phone call from the grocer alerting you to a product recall.

Fred Meyer stores have been affected by a nationwide voluntary recall of certain lots of whole peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots (or plumcots). Fred Meyer customers who used their rewards cards and purchased any of the recalled fruit — identified by a price-lookup sticker containing "Sweet2Eat" on the fruit — between June 1 and July 20 are receiving automated calls this week, said Melinda Merrill, spokeswoman for Fred Meyer.

Those customers also will find a message alerting them of the recall on their store receipts, Merrill said. The notification efforts began as soon as Fred Meyer learned it was affected by the recall, she said.

On Saturday, Wawona Packing Co. in Cutler, Calif., issued a voluntary recall of certain lots of the pitted fruits after internal tests came back positive for listeria monocytogenes on two nectarines and one peach. The company hasn't been able to determine how or where along the supply chain the problem occurred.

Wawona shut down the implicated packing lines and sanitized the facility. Subsequent tests came back negative, according to the company's website.

Wawona distributes products directly to retailers and wholesalers who resell the products across the country. Costco, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart have also been affected by the voluntary recall and have posted information on their websites.

The potentially contaminated fruit was pulled from store shelves. People who still have any of the fruit are urged to throw it away or return it to the store for a refund.

So far, no illnesses linked to the fruit have been reported. But listeria monocytogenes — the bacterium that causes listeria or listeriosis — can cause serious illness.

The symptoms of infection may begin a few days after eating contaminated food, but could take as long as two months, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Symptoms of listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Pregnant women are at increased risk of infection. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Older adults (65 and older) and people with weakened immune systems are also at increased risk of infection, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates 1,600 listeria illnesses and 260 deaths are caused by the infection each year. At least 90 percent of people who get listeria infections are those who had an increased risk of infection, according to the CDC.