July 16, 2019

Arizona Prominent in Listeriosis Outbreak, Caramel Apple Recalls

caramel apple lawsuitArizona is one of only five states named as a distribution territory in the latest caramel apple recall and now has the distinction of being involved at many levels of a rapidly evolving investigation of Listeria food poisoning.  New outbreak details could be released in the coming week, but Arizona already is proven to have 14 percent of the 29 confirmed cases of listeriosis associated with pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples. Four deaths have stemmed from the outbreak and nine illnesses have occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn baby.

Arizona, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and New Mexico are the leading states in the outbreak, but five other states have confirmed cases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been monitoring the national infectious disease detection system for additional signs of the outbreak. Two recalls have been announced, both involving Arizona. The latest recall is from the maker of Karm’l Dapples, which were available in grocery stores, discount and club stores this fall in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Any type of Karm’l Dapples marked with a best use by date between August 15th and November 28th 2014, has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, California Snack Foods said in its recall announcement.

The company said it recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of its apple suppliers, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples they supplied. Bidart Brothers also supplied apples to the California facilities of Happy Apple Company, the first producer of caramel apples to issue a recall notice. The Happy Apple recall affected Arizona and 30 others states.

“Investigators are rapidly working to determine specific brands or types of commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples that may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination,” the CDC said in its latest summary of the outbreak.

For now, the FDA and CDC are warning against the consumption of any brand of commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples. The items are seasonal and many stores have stopped selling them, but health officials at the state and federal level are concerned that contaminated caramel apples may still be on some store shelves and in peoples’ homes. Listeriosis is a rare infectious disease, but it is fatal in one of every five instances. Ninety percent of its victims are either pregnant, babies, older than 65 or immuno-suppressed. If you or a loved one have fallen ill after eating a store-bought caramel apple, immediately see a physician. Listeria not only infects a person’s blood, but it also can invade the neurological system, causing Listeria meningitis.

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