Stores affected by fruit recall use technology to notify shoppers

(FDA Image)
(FDA Image)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A fruit recall has expanded to more major grocers across central Indiana.

On Tuesday there was a nationwide recall of peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and a hybrid fruit known as pluots or plumcots. Even though there have been no illnesses reported, the concern is over potential listeria contamination.

All the products were shipped from California-based Wawona, but they were distributed across the country, including here in central Indiana.

Target, Marsh and Meijer are not affected by the recall. Neither are any of the Walmarts in the area. However, its warehouse club counterpart Sam’s Club is and so are Costco and Trader Joe’s. The latest addition to the list is Kroger.

Aldi stores were only affected in other states and not in Indiana.

So how are all of those stores trying to get the word out to customers?

Many people think the Kroger customer cards are just to get deals inside the store, but employees say the cards are important tools when it comes to serious recalls like the one this week.

For Cathy Burke, who’s legally blind, notifications are important.

“A lot of times on fruit, you eat them the same day or the next day and then you get a recall the week later,” Burke said.

This week, another recall was passed down to retailers on several fruits. It was a Class I recall, according to Kroger executives.

“So that really, in simple terms means, we drop what we’re doing, we pull that product off the shelf or out of the case and secure it,” Kroger spokesperson John Elliot said.

Then, Kroger employees immediately start notifying their shoppers. Elliot says they have four different ways they tell customers.

First, e-mails are sent to those who purchased the recalled product, using their Kroger card information. Second, phone calls are made.

“Oh, I think that’s excellent,” Burke said.

“I’ve gotten notices like that, and I appreciate it,” Kroger shopper Ray Kocher said.

Also, during the next visit to a Kroger store, there will be a message printed at the bottom your receipt.

“That really only leaves out that less than 2 percent of customers who are not participating in Kroger’s loyalty program,” Elliot said.

But even for those customers, signs are posted in affected stores after the product is removed.

It’s all part of a plan in place to try to keep up with the rapid pace of recalls.

“It becomes very important that we don’t just say we care about food safety, but we really act on it,” Elliot said.

If you do participate in store loyalty programs, like a Kroger card, it is important to update that information if you move or change your phone number, so the store can reach you if needed.

Also, if you did happen to buy some of the recalled fruit, Kroger says you can bring it back to any area store for a refund.

Several stores use the same sort of methods. For example, Sam’s Club is also able to send out automated phone calls and e-mails using the information you provide when you sign up for membership. Costco also sends out automated phone calls and letters to customers.

If you want a closer look at exactly which products are involved, click here for the UPC numbers and production dates.

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