March 26, 2019 / 2:04 AM / 2 months ago

California avocados voluntarily recalled for possible health risk

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California avocado grower and distributor has voluntarily recalled its product from six states due to concerns about possible contamination with Listeria, bacteria that can cause severe illness in some people.

FILE PHOTO: Avocados are on display for sale at the wholesale market "Central de Abastos" in Mexico City, Mexico January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

No illnesses associated with the recall have been reported, the Henry Avocado Corporation said in its recall notice on Saturday, adding the measure was taken “out of an abundance of caution.”

The recall covers California-harvested avocados - both conventionally grown and organic - that were shipped to retailers in California, Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, said the company.

The conventional avocados carry “Bravocado” brand stickers on the fruit, while organically grown products bear stickers labeled “organic” and the word “California,” according to the company, based in Escondido, California, near San Diego.

The avocados were recalled after environmental samples taken during a routine government inspection at the company’s California packing facility tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, the company said.

That bacteria strain can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in pregnant women, young children, the elderly or others with weakened immune systems. Risks to pregnant women include miscarriages and stillbirths.

Others exposed may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Avocados imported from Mexico and distributed by Henry, a family-owned business, were not affected.

Consumers were urged to discard any recalled avocados or return them to their place of purchase for a refund.

In the meantime, the company said it was focused on cleaning and sanitizing its packing plant - an operation conducted and overseen by a third-party - and would conduct additional sample testing before fruit-packing resumes there.

The California Avocado Commission is projecting a harvest of roughly 175 million pounds statewide this season, about half the size of last year’s crop, due in part to unusually high temperatures during the latest growing season.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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