Peaches recalled in 35 states after 68 people contract Salmonella

ALDI and Target are removing bagged, loose Wawona peaches in 20 states

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Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

Author: Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Kent State University

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers' health, safety and financial security. Prior to her current role, she worked as a journalist and columnist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio's largest daily newspaper. She is the recipient of dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, Best Business Writer in Ohio, and National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Among the accomplishments she’s most proud of is receiving a journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected at least 15 million customers nationwide. Her work caused Verizon to reach an $80 million settlement with the FCC, the largest ever imposed at that time. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons and a dog. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it’s investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis infections that it believes stem from peaches. In response, four large grocery chains, ALDI, Target, Kroger and Wegmans are removing those peaches from stores.

The peaches sold in ALDI stores since June 1 were either in two-pound clear bags labeled Wawona Packing Co., or sold as loose bulk fruit,, the FDA said. The affected peaches have also been sold by Target, according to Department of Health in Minnesota, where Target is based. On Friday, the alert expanded to bagged peaches at Kroger, Wegmans and other grocers. The FDA is investigating whether unbagged peaches are also an issue.

So far, 68 people have become ill from the contaminated peaches, some requiring hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC). The Minnesota Department of Health says its first known case was July 12. The FDA, CDC and their state and local partners are investigating the source of contamination and how widely the peaches have been distributed. 

Illnesses have been reported in nine states so far: Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. The FDA initially said the peaches had been distributed in at least 16 states. That has increased to 35 states. ALDI operates nearly 2,000 stores across 36 states. Target has 1,880 stores in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

It’s troubling that dozens of people have been getting sick from these peaches for more than a month and the public is just now finding out about it. This puts a big spotlight on the urgent need to better track food through the supply chain so we can identify infections more quickly and recall contaminated food immediately. Consumers shouldn’t have to fear getting violently ill from eating a summertime favorite.

This outbreak also highlights the problem with the way consumers generally find out about food recalls: through the media. Consumers may not learn about recalls affecting items they’ve purchased in a timely fashion. Grocery stores themselves need to be part of the solution by actively contacting customers who’ve bought recalled items. The majority of the time, stores know who buys what. We use our discount or loyalty cards. They have our emails and maybe even our phone numbers. Stores should want to notify their customers as soon as possible to keep them safe.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Food Recall Failure: Will your supermarket warn you about hazardous food? scorecard gave a failing grade to 84 percent of the nation’s 26 largest grocery chains. Chains were graded on their efforts to inform the public about recall notification efforts, including how to sign up for direct notifications or where to find in-store postings. ALDI got a failing grade, though Target was one of the few that passed.

The CDC estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness every year; 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Some cases come from food bought at the grocery store. 

The affected peaches include these brands and product codes, sold from June 1 through Aug. 19:

Wawona Peaches – 033383322001
Wawona Organic Peaches – 849315000400
Prima Peaches – 766342325903
Organic Marketside Peaches – 849315000400
Kroger Peaches – 011110181749
Wegmans Peaches – 077890490488

Tips for consumers, restaurants and retailers:

  • Don’t eat, sell or serve peaches under the Wawona brand until more information is known. Authorities said the affected peaches have been sold at Aldi and Target in 20 states, and other retailers and additional states could be involved as well as the investigation progresses.

  • Throw away or return for a refund any fresh or frozen Wawona peaches purchased since June 1 from Aldi or Target.

  • Throw away any peaches purchased from Aldi or Target since June 1 if you cannot identify the brand.

  • Take extra steps to sanitize if you had Wawona-brand peaches from Aldi or Target. Focus on containers or surfaces the peaches may have touched, including cutting boards, slicers, countertops, refrigerators, storage bins and fruit bowls. People can wash the surfaces first and then sanitize, using a cleaning solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water, and then dry with a fresh paper towel or clean cloth that hasn’t been previously used.

  • Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of Salmonella infection. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis could include high fever, aches, headaches, lethargy, a rash, blood in the urine or stool. In some cases, salmonellosis.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after you’ve finished sanitizing areas in your home. 

  • Return any contaminated products to the store for a refund. ALDI said it “takes the safety and integrity of the products it sells seriously.” Customers affected by the voluntary recall can discard the peaches or return them to their local store for a full refund.

  • Contact Wawona Packing Company LLC customer service at 1-877-722-7554 if you have additional questions.

  • Pay extra attention if you’re in one of the states where peaches have been flagged: Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

  • Keep up on any updates from the FDA or your grocer if you buy peaches from any retailer.

Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

Author: Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Kent State University

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers' health, safety and financial security. Prior to her current role, she worked as a journalist and columnist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio's largest daily newspaper. She is the recipient of dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, Best Business Writer in Ohio, and National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Among the accomplishments she’s most proud of is receiving a journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected at least 15 million customers nationwide. Her work caused Verizon to reach an $80 million settlement with the FCC, the largest ever imposed at that time. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons and a dog. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.