Infected fruit, possibly from a batch already subject to a recall, may be behind an outbreak of listeria in multiple states, including three cases in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning.
Ten people have been hospitalized and one person died, according to a health alert sent out by the agency Monday afternoon. The true number of those infected could be higher, since some of those infected will recover without medical care and are not tested for the disease.
Listeria is contracted by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year with about 260 deaths reported annually.
Symptoms of listeria include fever, flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue, headache and stiff neck.
Those most at risk from the infection include pregnant women, newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and those with weakened immune systems. Infection during pregnancy usually results in miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or a life-threatening infection to the newborn.
An investigation into existing cases found that people became sick after eating whole peaches, nectarines and plums distributed by HMC Farms. The producer began a recall of a batch of fruit sold in stores between May and November of both this year and in 2022. The decision came after the Food and Drug Administration found the outbreak strain in a sample of the company’s peaches.
That fruit should no longer be in stores but may be in customer’s freezers, warned the CDC, which is advising people to check their freezers and discard any fruit that should have been recalled.
The recalled fruit was sold in 2-pound bags branded “HMC Farms” or “Signature Farms.” Consumers with further questions can contact the company’s consumer information desk at 844-483-3867.
Investigators are working to identify any other fruit products that may be contaminated, the health advisory states.