June 29, 2017
Fruit Recall Expands Amid Listeria Concerns

An nationwide fruit recall was recently expanded amid ongoing Listeria concerns. Wawona Packing Company issued the first voluntary recall on June 19. Weeks later, the recall was extended to include all products packaged at the Cutler, California, plant between June 1 and July 17.

As reported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the fruit recall includes whole nectarines, peaches, plums, and pluots. Company officials are concerned, as the fruit may have been exposed to Listeria monocytogenes while being processed.

Following the July 19 recall, the facility ceased all processing and packaging of whole fruit products. Although the presence of Listeria was detected inside the plant, the specific source remains unknown. Company officials underlined the fact that the recall is limited to the Cutler, California, facility.

As reported by International Business Times. Wawona Packing Company distributes fresh fruit to several major retailers, including Costco, Trader Joe's, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods.

The FDA reports that the following brands are included in the recall: Mrs. Smittcamp's, Sweet 2 Eat, and Sweet 2 Eat Organic. Although the products are also packaged under private labels, the individual fruits should be stamped with the original brand logo.

Consumers are cautioned to avoid eating the recalled fruit. Uneaten fruit should be thrown away or returned to the store for a full refund.

Company officials said the fruit recall was expanded "out of an abundance of caution." Although Listeria was discovered inside the facility, the FDA has not received any reports of illness.

In healthy adults, Listeria monocytogenes may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and nausea. Although the symptoms are unpleasant, they are rarely fatal. Listeria is a specific concern for "young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems," as the infection could become severe.

Following the initial fruit recall, the Wawona Packing Company sanitized the Cutler, California, facility. Additionally, the company is working with the FDA to identify the source of the Listeria.

In an official statement, Wawonna Packing President Bren Smittcamp outlined the company's commitment to resolve the situation:

"Wawona Packing believes in the highest standards of food safety. We have been working around the clock to determine the source of the Listeria monocytogenes. We have brought in nationally known experts in food safety to investigate every part of our packing facility, and we are working with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration."
Smittcamp also said the Cutler, California, plant will remain closed until the source of the bacteria is identified and the facility is deemed safe. It is unknown how many retail outlets received and sold produce included in the fruit recall.

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