October 18, 2021

Caramel Apple Outbreak: History of Apple Recalls for Listeria

The recent outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially prepared, prepackaged caramel apples in the U.S. may seem surprising. After all, caramel apples are hardly a food one thinks of in relation to food poisoning. But in the past two years, there have been a few recalls of apples products for this bacteria, so the outbreak is not unprecedented, although no illnesses were reported linked to the recalls below.

Caramel Apples DeluxEarlier this month, Giant Eagle recalled their Apple Pistachio Salad, plain and with chicken because they may have contained fresh cut Gala red apples recalled by Del Monte Fresh Produce for possible Listeria contamination. The Del Monte recall was for apple slices, apple slices with dip, apples with cheese, snack packs, pineapple medley, apples with grapes and cheese, apples with yogurt, gourmet fruit bowl, apples/carrots/cheese with dip and harvest blend.

In November 2013, Crunch Pak recalled apple slices for possible Listeria contamination. Those items included ready to eat salads, slaws, dips, and spreads as well. No illnesses were reported in connection with this recall.

In December 2012, Freshway Foods recalled more than 6,000 pounds of sliced apples that were prepared on the same packaging machine that may have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria. Those apples were sold under the brand name Sonic and Motts.

In August 2012, Missa Bay recalled almost 300,000 cases and 300k,000 individual distributed pieces of fruit, vegetable, and sandwich products with apples because they may have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria. One of Missa Bay’s customers was McDonald’s, who had to stop serving apple slices purchased from them. Also in August 2012, Reichel Foods recalled Dippin’ Stix Sliced Apples and Armour Active Packs Cheese Pizza Lunch Kits because they have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria.

The current outbreak has sickened at least 29 people in 10 states. Five people have died. And the CDC is recommending that no one eat any prepackaged, commercially prepared caramel apples until further notice.

If you have eaten any of these products, monitor yourself for the symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes for the next 70 days. They include muscle aches, fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, nausea, and vomiting. Pregnant women may only have a mild illness similar to the flu, but this infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or infection of the newborn baby. If you do get sick, see your doctor immediately and tell her you ate a prepackaged caramel apple.

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