Listeria outbreak causes recall of fruit sold by Walmart, Publix, Albertsons, others

A listeria outbreak that’s reached seven states — Florida and California leading in cases — and caused one death spurred a recall of over 10 months of fruit sold by some of the nation’s largest grocers.

HMC Farms’ recall likely comes too late to do anything about peaches, plums and nectarines sold from May 1, 2022, through Nov. 15, 2022, though those are included in the recall. The fruit sold this year from May 1 through Wednesday, however, might still be in freezers and refrigerators.

What peaches, nectarines and plums have been recalled?

HMC Farms recalled bags of whole plums, peaches and nectarines sold under its brand Signature Farms peaches and nectarines as well as and individual whole fruits.

HMC Farms’ bagged Nectarines.
HMC Farms’ bagged Nectarines.

The individual fruit should have stickers with with 4044 and 4038 for yellow peaches; 4401 for white peaches; 4036 and 4378 for yellow nectarines; 3035 for white nectarines; and 4042 and 4040 for red plums.

The stamp on recalled white peaches.
The stamp on recalled white peaches.

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The Signature Farms peaches and nectarines were sold only by the Albertsons stores: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, ACME, Balducci’s Food Lovers Market; Carrs; Eagle; Haggen; Kings Food Markets; Lucky; Pavilions; Shaw’s; and Star Market. Those stores were in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.

Signature Farms Peaches
Signature Farms Peaches

The Albertsons stores also sold the HMC Farms brand. So did Walmart, which posted lists of Walmart stores (a 68-page PDF) and Sam’s Club stores touched by the recall. Publix also posted the recall on its website.

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What’s listeria and what’s going on with the current outbreak?

Listeria is a foodborne illness that doesn’t hit very many in the United States (about 1,600 per year according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) but has a relatively high mortality rate (about 260 or about 16.25%). Newborns, pregnant women, people over 65 years old and people with damaged immune systems are most likely to get the worst of listeria. It can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Otherwise, common symptoms can feel like you’re getting the flu, along with fever, headache, stiffness, possible seizures, confusion and bad balance.

The CDC says the current outbreak being investigated has sickened 11 people, 10 of which have been hospitalized and one of whom has died. That person was in California, which has three people with listeria in this outbreak as does Florida. The other five people are in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and Colorado.

All seven people interviewed so far about what they ate said they ate nectarines, plums or peaches.

What should you do now?

If you have any of the recalled fruit, throw it out or return it to the store for a refund.

If you have more questions, call HMC at 844-483-3867, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time.

If you bought individual peaches in a box that looked like this anytime from May through November 15, they’re from HMC and have been recalled.
If you bought individual peaches in a box that looked like this anytime from May through November 15, they’re from HMC and have been recalled.