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Fruit Recalls Sweep Nation Ahead of Holidays

Contaminated fruits account for 9 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks in U.S.


spinner image a shelf in the produce section of a supermarket filled with fruits that have been recalled and holiday poinsettia plants
UWMadison / Getty Images

The holidays are a time for togetherness, celebration and, of course, delicious food. However, a recent string of nationwide fruit recalls has raised concerns about food safety, particularly for older adults who may be more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.

Public health officials have advised consumers to remove the potentially dangerous products from their homes to avoid getting sick. Notably, 9 percent of outbreak-associated foodborne illnesses from 2009 to 2018 were attributed to fruits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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To stay informed about the latest recalls and safeguard your family during this holiday season, read on to identify any potentially contaminated fruits in your kitchen.

Top foods that caused illnesses 2009-2018

spinner image a pie chart breaking down foods that cause food poisoning by percent with chicken the highest at twelve percent followed by pork at ten percent and beef at nine percent
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The recalled fruit products

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe has been linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened dozens of people across 15 states between Oct. 17 and Nov. 6. Infections were reported among 43 people, resulting in 17 hospitalizations.

The recall involves both whole and precut varieties of cantaloupe sold under the Malichita, Vinyard and Aldi brands. They were available for purchase between Oct. 16 and Nov. 10.

Anyone who has a recalled cantaloupe in their home should throw it out or return it to the store it was purchased from.

Adults 65 and older, people with weakened immune systems and children younger than 5 may have more serious illnesses related to salmonella that require medical treatment. Common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach pains.

Peaches, nectarines, plums

Peaches, nectarines and plums are behind an outbreak of listeria that infected at least 11 people across seven states, resulting in 10 hospitalizations and one death.

The fruit was sold individually and in 2-pound bags at retailers including Albertsons, Publix, Safeway and Walmart between May 1, 2022, and Nov. 15, 2023. The bags were branded with “HMC Farms” or “Signature Farms.”

Although the recalled fruit is no longer available for sale in stores, the CDC is concerned that products may still be in people’s homes and potentially stored in their freezers. Anyone who may have recalled fruits in their home should throw them away or return them to the store. Make sure to clean any surfaces that may have touched the recalled fruit.

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Applesauce

Cinnamon apple puree and applesauce products were recalled for lead contamination. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes the cinnamon used in the products is the likely source of contamination.

The recalled apple products have been linked to at least 34 illnesses, primarily affecting children, across 22 states.

The recalled products are:

  • WanaBana cinnamon fruit puree pouches sold nationwide at retailers including Amazon, Dollar Tree and other online stores.
  • Schnucks cinnamon-flavored applesauce pouches and variety packs sold at Schnucks and Eatwell Markets.
  • Weis-brand cinnamon applesauce pouches sold at Weis grocery stores

In a sample of WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Puree collected from Dollar Tree, the FDA detected lead levels of 2.18 parts per million (ppm), 200 times greater than the “action level” the FDA has proposed in draft guidance for fruit purees intended for babies and young children. 

Anyone who has these products should carefully open the pouch and empty its contents into the trash before discarding to prevent others from salvaging it.

Children are the most susceptible to lead toxicity. Short-term exposure could result in headache, abdominal pain, vomiting and anemia. Long-term exposure may cause irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle aches or muscle prickling/burning, constipation, difficulty concentrating/muscular weakness, tremor and weight loss.

While the majority of children may not exhibit immediate symptoms of lead exposure, suspicion of lead poisoning can be confirmed through a blood test.

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