Wawona Packing Company in California has expanded its recall of fruit that it processed and packaged during the months of June and July that may be contaminated with the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. The company has alerted consumers and retailers that all fruit packed at the facility between June 1 and when it shut down operations on July 17 are potentially contaminated, and that all fruit that has passed through the plant is potentially contaminated.
The original recall covered only certain lots of fruit packed between June 1 and July 12.
Pieces of fruit that came through the plant and may have been contaminated with Listeria were sold at a variety of grocery and warehouse chains ranging national warehouse retailers BJ’s and Costco to locally-owned, single-location grocers.
Since cooking or canning kills Listeria when done correctly, if you bought fruit from the period of potential contamination and canned it, it’s up to you whether to keep it around. The fruit shouldn’t be contaminated unless you are dangerously bad at canning.
How do you know whether you ate fruit that was part of this recall? Well…you don’t. Unless you save all of your fruit stickers and/or cartons, you cannot know for sure whether that the fruit you ate was affected. Do you remember eating an organic plum and then coming down with a stomach bug shortly afterward? If so, you may have eaten contaminated fruit.
The last thing that you want to do when you have a headache and gastrointestinal distress is get in the car and drive to the doctor, and that’s the problem. In order to confirm that you have a case of foodborne illness, your doctor and government agencies need to test your bodily fluids. They need samples of feces, blood, or spinal fluid (depending on which illness you have) to prove which strain of which pathogen has made you sick, which then is traced back to something that you ate.
Most people don’t run to the hospital or see their doctor for a one-day stomach bug, which is why the Food and Drug Administration, Wawona, retailers, and news outlets continue to report that there are no confirmed illnesses from this outbreak yet. The Listeria was found through routine testing, not reports of illness from consumers.