In July of last year, Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, California, was compelled to recall a large number of peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots – known as stone fruits – when testing showed that they could contain Listeria monocytogenes. Wawona issued the July 19th recall following its own internal testing, and then on the 31st expanded the recall to include all fruit packed at the facility in June or July of 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in concert with state and local health departments and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began an investigation into the possibility of human illnesses. Employing pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern data, the three Listeria monocytogenes isolates identified in the stone fruit were linked, via PulseNet (the national molecular subtyping network) to four human isolates.

The human illnesses, identified in Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Carolina, presented between May 8, 2014 and August 28, 2014. The Massachusetts victim recalled eating organic nectarines, which was confirmed using receipts and shopper card data indicating the family had purchased Wawona Packing Company stone fruit from their local grocer. The Minnesota victim had also eaten peaches (though they were not from a batch for which a Wawona recall was issued), while the South Carolina victim could recall not stone fruit consumption. NO information was available for the Illinois victim.

In follow up testing of the stone fruit, 31 additional Listeria monocytogenes isolates were identified, most of which were indistinguishable from the earlier findings of the company, but a number of them were distinct. This finding, says Listeria Lawyer Ron Simon, is relatively common, pointing to the recent Blue Bell Ice Cream recall where the ice cream was linked to seven separate strains of Listeria and the Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak where the chicken has been linked to seven different strains of Salmonella Heidelberg.

According to Listeria Lawyer Ron Simon, listeriosis is one of the more dangerous pathogens, especially for pregnant women because it can cause serious fetal injury and fetal death. He points out that the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have issued warnings for pregnant women with regard to eating smoked fish, smoked meat, deli meats, and some soft cheeses. So far, however, stone fruit has not been a cause of serious concern. If you have additional questions about Listeria, the stone fruit recall, or wan to speak to a Listeria Lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901.