Fruit sold at Costco, Sam's Club recalled after listeria found at packing company

2014-07-22T11:00:00Z 2014-07-25T15:13:12Z Fruit sold at Costco, Sam's Club recalled after listeria found at packing companyBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A Cutler, Calif., packing company is voluntarily recalling fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots from retailers, including Costco and Sam’s Club in Billings, after one of their facilities tested positive for listeria.

An internal inspection by the Wawona Packing Co., which owns the plant, identified the bacteria on packaging equipment, according to a press release from the company.

So far, no illness associated with the fruit have been reported, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s website. The packaging plant has since sanitized and disinfected all equipment.

The contaminated fruit was packaged June 1 through July 12, the company said in a press release.

The national recall was necessary because after the fruit is sold to retailers and wholesalers, the company does not track the exact locations of companies that purchased the products, the press release said.

Photographs of the containers and the universal product codes of fruit which has possibly been contaminated is available on the FDA website.

Amy Philpott, Wawona’s public relations representative, could not be reached for comment.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems.

Even healthy people could suffer from short-term symptoms of high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. In pregnant women, a listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Representatives at Billings locations of Costco and Sam’s Club said that the fruit was sold at their stores, but all questionable inventory has been removed.

Each store was able to contact customers who purchased the tainted fruit because members swipe their cards when they make purchases.

Both stores are offering a refund to anyone who purchased the products.

“If they have the bag, they don’t have to bring us the food back,” said Moe Bradshaw, a receiving manager at Sam’s Club. “They don’t even need the receipt.”

Several employees at the store had purchased the fruit before the recall, and ate it, reporting no ill effects, but the store will gladly refund people’s money or replace the product, she said. “We just want to make sure that everybody’s taken care of.”

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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