California fruit recall expanding

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Local stores are now receiving new supplies of peaches, nectarines, plums, and other similar fruits after a California distributor issued a recall on the products over the weekend.  Wawona Packing Co. distributes the Wawona, Sweet 2 Eat, and Harvest Sweet brands, along with some store branded varieties.  Trader Joe’s, Sam’s, Walmart, Costco, and Dierbergs are the St. Louis stores impacted.

Dierbergs officials say they got an early tip about the recall and were able to get out front of the problem.

“We got first word on Friday night and by Saturday morning we had our stores cleared of all the recalled products and as of today you can find peaches and nectarines in all of our stores,” Dierbergs spokesman Todd Vasel said.  “Most of our stores also have plums and pluots.”

The contamination was discovered in tests run at Wawona’s facility in California.  The recall was voluntary, though they have reported it to the Food and Drug Administration.

The fruits, which were packaged between June 1 and July 12, contain signs of listeria, an infection often mistaken for food poisoning.

“Kind of a diarrheal, gastroenteritis type illness,” Mercy Urgent Care Dr. Edward Kunst said.  “Kind of like stomach flu so to speak.  It’s usually mild and self-limited, and there can be an invasive type of the illness that is much more severe.”

The good news is, as of Wednesday, no one had been diagnosed with any illness related to the bad fruit.  But Kunst says you can’t be too careful.

“A common carrier can be contaminated fruit, contaminated vegetables.  That’s why we wash our fruits and vegetables real well and wash our surfaces that we prepare fruits and vegetables on.”

Many national stories relating to the recall didn’t post until Tuesday or Wednesday.  Dierbergs first announced it in St. Louis days earlier, on Saturday.

“I think we were the first retailer in the country to get the word out and as you can see from the list there are some pretty big retailers now that are following suit,” Vasel said.

All the retailers we spoke to said they will take back any fruits listed in the recall if you still have them.  You can find detailed information on what has been recalled here:  www.wawonapacking.com/VoluntaryRecall-07192014.pdf

A spokesman for Schnucks says that chain was not affected by this particular recall.

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