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Fruit Recalled at City Market & King Soopers Over Listeria Concern

Peaches, Peach

A food safety recall has been issued for certain produce sold at City Market and other King Soopers out of fear the fruit could be contaminated with Listeria. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke with Laura Van Wagenen-Birdsill, an environmental public health specialist for the Colorado Department of Public Health, about the recall.  

PALMISANO: The Colorado Department of Public Health issued a food safety recall Monday. What was recalled?

WAGENEN-BIRDSILL: “We received information from the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration that Wawona Packing Company in California had issued a recall of fresh whole peaches, plums, nectarines, plucots, and plumcots [because there was a concern of] potential contamination of Listeria monocytogenes, which is one of the pathogenic bacteria that is of concern to humans specially our groups of young children, the elderly, frail, immunocompromised, and pregnant women.”

PALMISANO: "In 2011 there was a Listeria outbreak linked to Jensen Farms in Colorado. The CDC reports in total [33] deaths were linked to that outbreak of Listeria and one woman had a miscarriage. Can you elaborate on what happened there?"

WAGENEN-BIRDSILL: “I did not work directly on the cantaloupe case here in Colorado however that was handled through my office. With fresh produce, we often find that there is no kill-step or a way to denature the bacteria before consumption. The particular fruits that are involved in this current recall are soft-skinned fruits and the entire fruit is the edible portion. Therefore there is no way to safely wash or decontaminate the fruits prior to consumption. It is strongly recommended to discard all fruits that are involved in the current recall.  Where in the 2011 case with the cantaloupe, a hard-shelled melon, you could scrub the exterior of the melon to remove gross filth prior to cutting the melon into the edible portion.

PALMISANO: What causes Listeria?

WAGENEN-BIRDSILL: Listeria is a bacteria that is common in nature.  When it is found contaminating food products that’s when we see cases of food born illness. However, we have not had any reported cases of food-borne illness with the current recall to date.

PALMISANO: That was Laura Van Wagenen-Birdsill with the Colorado Department of Public Health.

The peaches, plums, nectarines, plucots, and plumcots involved in the recall were packed between June 1 and July 12. The produce has a PLU sticker that says “Sweet 2 Eat”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns Listeria can cause fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated for clarity. 

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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