Listeria found in California fresh fruit processing facility

Listeria monocytogenes has been found in three of 100 environmental samples and in one product sample taken this past spring at a fresh fruit processing facility in Vernon, CA. The samples were collected by U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors who visited the Simply Fresh Fruit Inc. plant in April and May, and Whole Genome Sequencing analysis determined the four isolates to be the same strain of Listeria.

According to a warning letter dated Oct. 19, and sent from FDA’s Los Angeles District Office to William T. Sander, company president, two of the positive environmental swabs were collected in areas adjacent to food contact surfaces.

The third positive swab was collected from the blade of a squeegee used to push excess water into the drain on the floor, the warning letter stated.

FDA noted that finished product from the facility was also found to be positive for Listeria this past spring.

While the Simply Fresh Fruit website details some of the company’s food safety practices, HACCP plan and inspection protocols, there was nothing posted Tuesday 8 Nov., under a “Product Alerts” tab.

There was also no FDA notice posted regarding the company’s April 14 recall of cantaloupe and fruit mixes with cantaloupe for possible Listeria contamination, nor was that news evident on the company’s website. However, a recall notice was posted at the time by US Foods and also by the California Department of Public Health.

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