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Fruit Recall: Are You at Risk?

If you’re an avocado connoisseur and you live in Arizona, California, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina or Wisconsin, there may be cause for concern. California-based company Henry Avocado Corp. issued a recall on the fruit for potential listeria monocytogenes contamination. The recall is a result of positive tests on environmental samples taken during a routine government inspection. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently posted the recall announcement.

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While there are no reported illnesses associated with the recall, you may want to check your avocado stash. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria are abundant in organic material such as soil, spoiling vegetation and animal manure. Once they come into contact with food and are consumed, they can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal pain, rapid heart rate, muscle aches, loss of balance, nausea and confusion. Listeria can also cause serious pregnancy complications, including stillbirths, miscarriages, preterm labor and even death.

If you recently purchased avocados in one of the states listed in the recall, check to make certain your produce is safe. To identify the recalled products, look for a “Bravacado” label on the sticker on the outside of the fruit. Recalled organic avocados are marked with the words “organic” and “California” on the sticker. If you have recalled avocados or if you aren’t certain, discard them immediately. You can also contact the company for questions or refunds.

Aside from purchasing your food from high-quality, small-scale sources, the best way to protect yourself form a food-borne infection is to strengthen your immune system through daily lifestyle choices that support your overall health. This includes avoiding sugar, getting plenty of sleep, reducing stress levels, exercising regularly, optimizing your vitamin D levels and taking a high quality probiotic to help protect your body against bad bacteria. If you believe you’ve been infected with a food-borne pathogen, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment.

When it comes to safe food handling, always be sure to separate and clean produce and meat to help prevent cross-contamination. Wash utensils in hot, soapy water to help remove food pathogens and wash your hands properly before and after handling foods. Washing meat won’t remove pathogens, but cooking it can help reduce your risk of foodborne illness. When it comes to produce, eat organic as often as possible, and always wash your fruits and vegetables. Using white vinegar can help reduce your exposure to foodborne pathogens, while baking soda can help remove harmful pesticides. To wash your produce, use 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 2 cups of water, and gently scrub. After washing off the baking soda, blend vinegar and water in a 1-to-3 ratio and mist the produce thoroughly. Let the produce rest for 30 minutes, then wash lightly under cold running water.

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