Kiwis are an ultimate summer snack: They’re delicious in fruit salad and genuinely tasty on their own too. But you may want to pay special attention to what’s in your crisper because a bunch of them just got recalled, according to a statement released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On August 8, David Oppenheimer and Company I, LLC—which sells under the brand name Zespri in the US—announced a recall of their organic kiwis due to potential listeria contamination. According to the release, the affected fruit has been sold in 14 states.
The potentially contaminated products were sold in one-pound clamshell packaging under the brand Zespri and labeled “Organic Green Kiwifruit.” The kiwis were shipped between June 14, 2023, and July 7, 2023, to Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Affected products have the UPC code 818849020093 and contain fruit stickers with the GTIN barcode 94009552.
According to the statement, the company became aware of the potential listeria contamination after the Kentucky Department for Public Health conducted a routine sampling on July 7. So far there haven’t been any reports of illnesses associated with the recall. To make sure it stays that way, the company recommends you check your fruit and, if you see any affected kiwis, toss them in the trash. Seriously, even if they look delicious and ripe—don’t eat them!
That’s because infections caused by listeria bacteria—called listeriosis—can be really serious. Symptoms can include fever, headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or seizures (in severe cases), and typically show up within two weeks after eating affected items. In most folks, listeria infections are mild, but they can be more dangerous for people who are pregnant, older than 65, or who have weakened immune systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you believe you may have eaten the recalled fruit or are experiencing any of the effects listed above, talk with your health care provider.
What’s more, listeria is a “hardy” germ, the CDC says. It can spread to fruit that comes into contact with contaminated surfaces at the processing plant, and it can grow in the fridge and even in the freezer too, reports the FDA. Cooking food to a high temperature can kill the bacteria, but that’s not exactly a practical solution for produce like kiwis meant to be eaten fresh. That’s why the recall recommends trashing any affected fruit.
David Oppenheimer and Company I, LLC didn’t list the stores that sold the recalled fruit in their statement. However, according to Zespri’s website, major retailers like Whole Foods, Walmart, and Costco typically sell that brand of kiwi. If you have any questions about the recall, you can contact the company at 1-866-698-2580 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PDT. Bottom line: While summer is the best time to eat this tasty fruit, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your well-being—so check your kiwis carefully.