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Deadly listeria outbreak linked to whole peaches, nectarines and plums

One person died and 10 other people were hospitalized in several states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio.
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A listeria outbreak linked to whole peaches, nectarines and plums has resulted in 10 hospitalizations and one death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

California-based HMC Farms on Friday voluntarily recalled the fruit sold from May 1 to Nov. 15, 2022, and from May 1 to Nov. 15 of this year. 

The recall does not include peaches, plums and nectarines currently being sold in stores.

The affected fruit was sold in 2-pound bags branded "HMC Farms" or "Signature Farms" or as individual fruits with stickers reading "USA-E-U." Images of the recalled fruit can be viewed here.

Listeria symptoms include muscle aches, fever and tiredness, and they may begin within two weeks of having consumed the contaminated food, the CDC said. They may also occur as early as the same day or as late as 10 weeks after exposure. It is especially harmful to people who are pregnant, 65 or older or have weakened immune systems.

Consumers who bought the fruit are told to throw it out immediately or return it to the store. The CDC said refrigerators and surfaces the recalled fruit touched should be thoroughly cleaned.

Eleven people became sick in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio and other states, according to the CDC. One was a pregnant woman who went into preterm labor. Ten people were hospitalized, and one person in California died.

A spokesperson for HMC Farms said its heart goes out to everyone who was affected.

"There is nothing more important to us than providing safe, high-quality fruit to consumers. We never want anyone to become ill from eating fresh fruit," said Amy Philpott, the company spokesperson. "The company is working tirelessly with the FDA to investigate how the contamination happened."

The CDC said that the actual number of sick people could be higher and that the outbreak could be in other states.

"This is because some people recover without medical care and are not tested for Listeria," the CDC said. "In addition, recent illnesses may not yet be reported as it usually takes 3 to 4 weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak."