If You Shop at Walmart, the FDA Has an Urgent New Warning for You

The mega-retailer is alerting customers to a serious health hazard posed by one product.

Whether you're looking to get the most for your money or are simply running low on time in your busy schedule, Walmart makes it easy to get the items you need in one location. More than 230 million customers run to the mega-retailer each week for everything from groceries and electronics to household essentials and clothing, according to Statista. But if you're one of the many who rely on Walmart for your shopping needs, there's an urgent new warning from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that may affect one of your recent purchases. Read on to see which item sold by the world's largest retailer could pose a serious health hazard.

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Walmart keeps customers alerted to safety issues related to the products they sell.

walmart storefront

Products that go to market today are subject to strict requirements to protect the public and keep them out of harm's way. But even with regulations in place, safety hazards can sometimes only be discovered once an item has gone on sale. Walmart's sprawling inventory often makes it the focus of such warnings, with several recent recalls affecting products sold by the retailer in an effort to keep shoppers safe.

On Feb. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a food safety alert notifying consumers that it was "investigating two separate Listeria outbreaks linked to packaged salads" produced by Dole and Fresh Express sold at Walmart and Kroger under the Marketside brand. And last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced it had recalled Sakar International's Dimensions Bluetooth Speaker Helmets sold online at Walmart.com due to failure to comply with the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.

Certain produce sold at Walmart across 18 states is now being recalled.

Zucchini sitting on a burlap bag

In the latest warning to customers, World Variety Produce, Inc. announced on April 19 that it was voluntarily recalling some cases of organic zucchini it had distributed to Walmart stores across 18 states. The affected items were sold under the Organic Marketside brand name in 2-count clear overwrap trays with the UPC 6-81131-22105-4 and case lot number 38706503.

The notice warns that the recalled produce was sent to select Walmart stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

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The recall was issued after testing uncovered a serious health hazard.

Woman with liver pain

According to the FDA, the zucchini recall was issued after routine testing discovered potential Salmonella contamination. The notice warns that healthy people who accidentally ingest the bacteria can often experience fever, diarrhea that can be bloody, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, they warn that in rare cases, salmonella poisoning can "result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis."

The agency also cautions that the bacteria can be especially dangerous—and potentially fatal—for young children, frail or elderly people, and anyone with a weakened immune system.

Here's what you should do if you purchased the recalled produce.

man throwing away black trash back
Shutterstock / Mike_shots

The FDA warns that anyone who may have purchased the recalled zucchini is "urged to destroy and dispose of " the produce immediately. The agency's notice says that any customers with questions can contact World Variety Produce by calling 1-800-588-0151 on weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. PST.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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