We’re in the tail end of what can generously be called an “unusual” summer here in the Twin Cities.
No State Fair, no concerts, no festivals – just constant worry about the spread of disease and fights big and small over racial justice.
We wouldn’t blame you if you made a conscious effort to enjoy the little summery things you still can, like sitting on the porch on a hot day and taking a big bite out of a ripe peach. Or maybe an onion. (We said it was an unusual summer.)
But we do have to advise you to use caution. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently looking into a multi-state outbreak of salmonella that has sickened at least 68 people so far. The culprit seems to be Wawona-brand bagged peaches sold at ALDI, Target, and possibly other stores in 15 or so states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 23 of those 68 unfortunate souls are from right here, and they range between 3 and 92 years of age (also bad news, since salmonella tends to be more serious in the very old and the very young).
If you bought said peaches between now and June, you should throw them away, according to a food advisory released by the CDC. You should also sanitize anything the peaches touched, like your refrigerator, or the small place in your heart reserved for quiet joy.
Salmonella symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps anywhere between six hours and six days after exposure to a poison peach. It can become so severe so as to require hospitalization, which is news nobody needed in the age of COVID-19. Six of the Minnesotans stricken in the peach recall were hospitalized; fortunately, all have recovered.
This peach outbreak comes on the heels of an equally depressing recall of salmonella-tainted onions earlier this month. These little bastards have sickened more than 900 people across the U.S. and Canada so far. (In Minnesota, 18 cases had been confirmed, as of Tuesday.) It covered a wide swath of brand names and stores, including Trader Joe’s and Walmart, plus a number of dips, spreads, and prepared foods.
We’d insert a joke about Louis Sachar’s Holes here, but we’re honestly too depressed.
The good news is that other brands of whole peaches are not known to be affected. You can still sit on your porch and enjoy one as the last days of August dwindle away.
But, as with everything else these days, just be careful.