The Food and Drug Administration is investigating packaged peaches as the likely cause of a salmonella outbreak that has contracted 68 people in nine states, 14 of whom have been hospitalized.
The peaches were packaged by the Wawona Packing Company and sold in two pound clear plastic bags from June 1st. Aldi, the retailer where many of those affected said they bought the peaches, recalled all of the packaged Wawona brand peaches on Wednesday.
Aldi informed the Food and Drug Administration that Wawona was the only supplier of the wrapped peaches. Products have shipped to stores in 16 states including Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Kentucky. The F.D.A. examined to determine the source of contamination and the spread of the peaches.
"The challenge with Salmonella is that Salmonella can invade or contaminate food almost anywhere in the chain," said Martin Wiedmann, Professor of Food Safety at Cornell University. “It could start in a field or an orchard where salmonella could be introduced. It could be in a facility where the product is packaged. It could have come from a person who carries salmonella. "
Customers who have the peaches at home, even if they are frozen, should not eat them and throw them away immediately, the F.D.A. said. You should also throw away any items that were made with the peaches. Health officials also recommend cleaning and disinfecting the area where the fruit was stored as it may have come in contact with and contaminated surfaces or containers.
This is important because, according to Dr. Wiedmann are incredibly resilient.
"Salmonella can very well survive in the environment," he said. "So there are examples where Salmonella lived for years in an environment, a built environment – a processing plant or a building."
People infected with salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and more serious symptoms, according to health officials. The disease, called salmonellosis, can last four to seven days, the C.D.C. said.
The final warning came amid a major outbreak related to onions grown in California. Hundreds became sick and 85 were hospitalized in 43 states. The F.D.A. has identified red onions from Thomson International, a product supplier in Bakersfield, California, as the likely source of the outbreak. This month the company commemorated red, yellow, white and sweet onions that have been shipping since May 1st.
As a precaution, Dr. Wiedmann encourages consumers to throw these products away, even if they have already eaten a few without consequence. People who consume contaminated food may not always get sick, but they do run the risk of becoming carriers and infecting other people, he said.