The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an alert in over a dozen states due to a potentially deadly bacteria discovered in imported fruit.
Green organic kiwifruit is now under recall in 14 states over Listeria contamination, according to an announcement posted on the FDA website.
David Oppenheimer and Company said it is voluntarily recalling some of its clamshell packages of kiwi, according to the notice.
After testing, the company found Listeria monocytogenes in some of the products.
The bacteria can cause listeriosis, a sometimes severe and fatal infection.
The company traced the contamination back to two grower lots in New Zealand.
The recalled kiwi, repackaged locally for sale in 1-pound clear plastic clamshells has the Zespri brand and UPC code 8 18849 02009 3.
It has fruit with a sticker featuring a GTIN bar code of 9400 9552.
The recalled products were shipped between June 14, 2023, and July 7, 2023.
They were sold in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
According to the notice, no illnesses have been reported to date in connection to the products.
No other products from David Oppenheimer and Company are subject to the recall.
Federal health officials say listeria is a bacteria that can cause severe or fatal illness in children, the elderly, or individuals with compromised immune systems.
Healthy people can suffer short-term problems including a high fever, nausea, stiffness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headaches. Among pregnant women, the organism can cause stillbirths and miscarriages.
According to the FDA, individuals who are infected with the bacteria may see symptoms within a few hours to three days after eating contaminated food.
More severe forms can take three days to three months to develop.
“L. monocytogenes is generally transmitted when food is harvested, processed, prepared, packed, transported or stored in environments contaminated with L. monocytogenes,” says the FDA’s website.
“Environments can be contaminated by raw materials, water, soil, and incoming air.
“Pets can also spread the bacteria in the home environment if they eat food contaminated with L. monocytogenes.”
Despite the warnings, the bacteria appears to be rare.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) data, an estimated 1,600 Americans develop listeriosis each year, while about 260 die.
“Listeria bacteria can survive refrigeration and even freezing,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
“So people who are at higher risk of serious infections should avoid eating the types of food most likely to contain listeria bacteria.”
That includes “improperly processed” deli meat products and unpasteurized milk products, it says, while also listing raw vegetables that have been contaminated from manure or soil as a source of infection.
It comes as ice cream being sold in 19 states was recalled due to possible listeria contamination.
According to a separate FDA notice issued last week, that action centers on the Real Kosher brand Soft Serve On The Go.
One person in New York and another individual in Pennsylvania have been sickened after eating the ice cream, officials said.
The FDA is now investigating, and Real Kosher said in a notice that it stopped making the ice cream.
“Our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our customers, which is why we have made the decision to recall all Soft Serve on the Go Cups,” the company said in its recall notice.
“Soft Serve on the Go Cups are manufactured at their own dedicated facility.
“No other products are affected by this recall.”
Ice cream cups were sold in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C., according to the notice.
In June, many frozen fruit products were recalled across the United States.
Officials linked the contamination to possibly contaminated pineapple, according to the FDA.