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Why the FDA Is Telling Pregnant Women to Avoid Kiwifruit

Zespri organic green kiwifruits shipped to 14 states have been recalled due to potential listeria contamination. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published August 14, 2023
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Image: Nata_vkusidey | Getty Images

There are plenty of foods to indulge in while pregnant, but there’s also a short list of foods to avoid. From raw fish to cookie dough, these food items are prone to harbor some potentially nasty bacteria that could be harmful to you and baby.

But outside of these more obvious no-nos, sometimes a seemingly innocuous food pops up on the radar as hazardous for expectant mothers due to contamination. The latest to be recalled? Kiwifruit. Here’s what you need to know.

Why are Zespri kiwifruits being recalled?

Fresh fruit and vegetable distributor David Oppenheimer and Company worked with the FDA to issue a recall for all one-pound clamshells of Zespri organic green kiwifruit on August 8. After a routine sampling by the Kentucky Department for Public Health found the New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, David Oppenheimer and Company worked with Zespri to trace the product through the supply chain to two grower lots and immediately ceased the distribution of organic green kiwifruit from the related lots.

The potentially contaminated kiwifruits were shipped between June 14, 2023 and July 7, 2023, and sold in clamshells at retail locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Pennslyvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. No illnesses have been reported yet.

Image: Oppy

Why should pregnant women be concerned?

Pregnant people are 10 times more likely to contract severe illness from listeria (known as listeriosis) than non-pregnant people due to their weakened immune systems.

According to the CDC, once contracted, symptoms from listeriosis usually start within two weeks. Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue and muscle aches. However, in severe cases, Listeria can cause pregnancy loss or premature birth and can cause serious illness or death in newborns.

How do I protect myself?

The FDA and David Oppenheimer and Company urge anyone who may have purchased affected kiwifruit to immediately discard the fruit. If you want to learn more about the recall and check to see if your kiwifruit may be affected, visit Oppy.com.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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