Food Safety Magazine

News | January 12, 2015

CDC Continues to Investigate as Listeria Cases Linked to Caramel Apples Evolve

By Staff

CDC Continues to Investigate as Listeria Cases Linked to Caramel Apples Evolve

There have now been seven reported deaths and more than 30 illnesses in 11 states stemming from the multi-state Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel apples, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

One week ago, a voluntary recall of Granny Smith and Gala apples was issued by Bakersfield, CA-based Bidart Bros. Testing had revealed the presence of Listeria at the company’s apple plant.

  • Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and seven deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of these deaths.
  • Ten illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant), with one illness resulting in a fetal loss.
  • Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years.
  • To date, 25 (89%) of the 28 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.

The CDC is working with public health officials across the country and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate this Listeria outbreak. The CDC recommends the following:

  • Consumers should not eat any recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples produced by Bidart Bros., and retailers should not sell or serve them.
  • Consumers who are buying or have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples can ask their retailers if the apples came from Bidart Bros.
  • Consumers should not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that were recalled or made with Bidart Bros. apples, and retailers should not sell or serve them.
  • Consumers who are unable to determine whether their commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples were made with Bidart Bros. apples should throw them away.
     

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