FDA Warning: Popular Fruit Sold Nationally Could Be Contaminated with Listeria

Updated: Nov. 21, 2023

To date, 11 illnesses have been reported in connection with the outbreak.

If you’re a fan of stone fruit and have purchased some in the past few weeks or frozen some for later use, there may be a concern in your fridge or freezer. The FDA has issued a notice regarding a voluntary recall by HMC Group Marketing, Inc., also known as HMC Farms. The recall is due to the potential contamination of several types of stone fruit with listeria monocytogenes.

The affected peaches, nectarines, and plums were sold in retail stores across the U.S. between May 1 and November 15, 2022, as well as between May 1 and November 15, 2023. The produce was available both in packages bearing the HMC Farms name and as individual pieces of fruit with PLU stickers, as specified in the announcement. To date, 11 illnesses have been reported in connection with the outbreak. It’s important to note that the recall only pertains to conventionally grown fruit, and no issues have been identified with organic fruit.

Although the fruit is no longer available for purchase in stores, the advisory encourages individuals to check their fridges and freezers for any recalled items. While the specific list of stores and states selling the affected fruit has not been disclosed, Walmart and Sam’s Club have provided separate advisories listing the stores that carried the recalled packages. Notably, the Sam’s Club locations that carried the fruit are predominantly situated in the South, and the link for Walmart stores selling the fruit is currently unavailable.

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Symptoms of listeria illness typically manifest within a few days of consuming contaminated food. While the illness can be mild, with symptoms such as fevers, stomach pains, and diarrhea, individuals with weakened immune systems, such as pregnant women and those with underlying conditions, may experience severe illness. It is advisable to consult a healthcare provider if symptoms occur after consuming any potentially contaminated food.

For any inquiries regarding the recall, individuals can contact HMC Farms at 844-483-3867, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

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How do fruits like peaches become contaminated with listeria?

Although stone fruits like peaches and nectarines are not commonly associated with foodborne illnesses—melons like cantaloupe and dairy products are more likely to be implicated—they can acquire dangerous bacteria at any point from the farm to the final location. Listeria, which is found in the stomachs and feces of animals, can adhere to the fruit’s flesh through incorrect compost usage, exposure to wild animals, and proximity to livestock farms. A study on listeria survival on peaches revealed that once the bacteria is present, it tends to endure transportation, packaging, and even pesticide application. The recommended course of action is to dispose of any contaminated fruit and to fully sanitize anything the fruit may have touched including bags used for transporting them from the store.