Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fresh Washington Peaches are Here!

This announcement came to me yesterday via e-mail from Anthony's Restaurants. According to their website, "Peaches from the Northwest, especially Washington, are considered by many experts to be among the finest in the world." And, now, apparently, you can get them at Anthony's.

I bet Anthony's got them cheap.

I don't know where Wawona Packing Company gets its peaches but that company just issued a nationwide recall of  peaches as well as nectarines, plums, and pluots. Besides the peaches, Whole Foods Market has also recalled products made with peaches such as cakes, tarts, salsas, and prepared salads. No doubt, other food companies will need to do the same.

While listeria can be found in soil, regardless of where the peaches came from, this contamination was sourced at the packing company. According to the packing company's press release, the recall was initiated based on internal company testing. According to Cleveland.com, however, the internal company testing was a result of an Australian importer that found three peaches positive for listeria.

Listeria, by the way, was named for Joseph Lister, the same person for whom Listerine mouthwash was named.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that approximately 260 deaths result from listeriosis occur every year.. The most serious outbreak of listeria resulted from contaminated cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Colorado which resulted in 33 deaths in 2011. The CDC called it "the deadliest foodborne disease outbreak in the United States in nearly 90 years." There is a listeria outbreak listed for every year since then.

As of July 22nd, Wawona Packing Company was unaware of any illnesses related to the peach recall. Indeed, no listeria outbreak is listed with the CDC relating to contaminated peaches. However, I am familiar with someone who was tested for it just last week so maybe the CDC is still gathering information. He ate three peaches over three days before becoming violently ill. If infected, his health care provider is required to report it and a case report would been filed.

The case report is is 15 pages long, 12 of which are devoted to collecting a patient's food history. Interestingly, peaches are not listed. The list consists mostly of meats; cheeses; ready-to-eat salads (including hummus); precooked, smoked, or cured fish; and dairy products. The only fruits specifically listed are honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and watermelon. No vegetables are listed, although vegetables are listed elsewhere as a possible source of listeria.

Anthony's peaches might be fine but I would recommend their fish.

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