How Kroger, Costco, and Walmart responded to nationwide fruit recall

Wawona Packing recalled peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots over concerns of potential listeria contamination.

CUTLER, CA: Retailers including Kroger, Walmart, and Costco used phone calls, social media, and in-store alerts to reach consumers after a California company issued a nationwide fruit recall.

On July 19, Wawona Packing voluntarily recalled some lots of peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots packed at its Cutler, California warehouses between June 1 and July 12 over concerns of potential listeria contamination. Stores such as Kroger, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart, which also operates Sam’s Club, notified consumers about the recall.

Wawona has devoted its website’s homepage to sharing information about the recall. The page includes photos of recalled products, a company statement, searchable lot codes, and answers to frequently asked questions.

A Wawona representative did not return requests for comment.

After pulling the fruit products from shelves, Kroger alerted customers to the issue through an automated phone call, said corporate communications director Keith Dailey. The retailer also posted signs in its stores and a message on its website, and it printed a note about the recall on the bottom of receipts.

"Quite a few customers comment, particularly about the phone calls, that they picked up the phone and heard the recall message before they were about to feed their child one of the recall products," Dailey said.

While the affected companies did not announce the recall on social media, representatives from Kroger and Walmart said they were answering customer inquiries through Twitter and email.

Because Costco and Sam’s Club are membership-based, the retailers are able to track customers’ purchases. Costco pulled a list of members who might have purchased any recalled fruit within a week of the recall and notified them by phone and a follow-up letter, said Craig Wilson, VP of quality assurance and food safety at the company.

Kroger, Costco, and Walmart customers are entitled to a full refund for any recalled products they purchased, the company spokespeople said.

Brian Nick, director of national media relations at Walmart, said the retailer is moving forward now because it is "very comfortable" that produce in stores is safe for consumers.

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