May 27, 2024

Advice to Consumers About Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing advice to consumers about the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially produced caramel apples. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

Caramel Apples DeluxThe government is recommending that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain apples as well as those with additional nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings until further notice. These products are usually made and sold in the fall, but they may be still be for sale in grocery stores and may be in consumers’ homes since they have a shelf life of more than a month.

If you have any of these products in your home, discard them immediately in a closed container so other people and animals can’t eat them. No illnesses linked to this outbreak have been linked to apples that aren’t caramel-coated or to caramel candy.

No homemade caramel apples have been associated with this outbreak. If you aren’t sure whether a caramel apple is homemade or commercially prepared, don’t eat it.

If you have eaten prepackaged, commercially produced caramel apples and have been ill with the symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, see your doctor immediately. Listeriosis can be serious, especially for children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. The symptoms of a Listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, along with nausea and vomiting. Pregnant women may only be mildly sick with an illness that is similar to the flu, but listeriosis can cause a serious infection in the newborn baby, stillbirth, and miscarriage.

As of Friday, December 19, 2014, there are at least 28 U.S. consumers sickened with listeriosis, linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Five people have died. The Minnesota Department of Health states that Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples are associated with this outbreak. Those were purchased from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods in that state. But other brands may be involved in this outbreak as well. We’ll keep you updated as further information is released.

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