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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

California's Wawona Packing issues voluntary nationwide fruit recall over listeria concerns

CUTLER, Calif. - A Central California company is recalling specific lots of its fresh peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots sold nationwide over concerns of possible listeria contamination.

Wawona Packing Co. President Brent Smittcamp said in a statement that he is not aware of any illnesses caused by the fruit, and the voluntary recall was announced after consulting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"By taking the precautionary step of recalling product, we will minimize even the slightest risk to public health," Smittcamp said.

The recalled fruit was packed and shipped to retailers including Costco Wholesale Corp. and Trader Joe's from June 1 through July 12, Wawona Packing said. The recall came after internal testing at the company's packing house in Cutler, a community in Tulare County.

Anybody who has the recalled fruit should discard it, the company said, adding that it wasn't known where the contamination originated. The recalled fruit was shipped directly to retailers and wholesalers, who resell the products. The company issued the recall because it doesn't know all of the companies that bought fruit from its wholesalers.

More information including lot codes, labels and pictures to identify the possibly contaminated fruit, is at Wawona's website, http://www.wawonapacking.com . Consumers can also call 888-232-9912.

Listeria can cause serious illness and even death for sensitive groups, such as children, the frail and the elderly. Healthy people may suffer flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea. It can cause miscarriage and stillbirth for pregnant women, the company warned.

After discovering the contamination, Wawona said it shut down its packing lines, retrofitted some equipment and sanitized the facility. Subsequent tests have been negative for the bacteria.

Clovis-based Wawona Frozen Foods is a separate company and is not involved in the recall.

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