Fruit Recalled in Local Grocery Markets in Fear of Listeria Outbreak

Amanda Mattesi, Sophomore , Assoc Graphics Editor

In late January, Yonkers’ Jac Vandenberg Inc. recalled a total of 3,299 cartons of fresh peaches, nectarines, and plums that may have been contaminated with listeria monocytogenes. This is a species of pathogenic bacteria that causes listeriosis, an infection which can have side effects such as headaches, convulsions, fever, muscle aches, and potential miscarriages, stillbirth, premature deliveries, or life-threatening infections of their newborn for pregnant women. Retailers, such as Fairway Market and Walmart, that sold potentially contaminated fruits were affected by this recall, and customers who bought the tainted fruits with Price Look-Up Code stickers reading 4044, 3035, or 4378 were entitled to a full refund.

The recall commenced when a routine sampling program by the packing house revealed the possibility of contamination in finished products. While it took nine days to come up with the test results for listeria bacteria, an investigation shows that food companies took an average of 57 days to recall items after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  was informed of the potential danger. According to the FDA, there were 1,928 food recalls in the 2018 fiscal year. With sickness breaking out in PMHS, this brings up the question, are food recalls currently affecting our health and safety?

“I feel petrified. I feed my kids, I eat it myself, I eat a lot of produce. I’m scared of getting sick. I’ve had salmonella. I was interviewed by the board of health and was sick for a month,” said PMHS teacher Mrs. Riviello. “I’ll replace the recalled fruits with apples and pears, because that’s what’s in season and tastes the best now.”

The distribution company has ceased their distribution of products. The FDA and Jac Vandenberg Inc. are continuing the investigation to find out the source of the problem to prevent future contaminations.