July 16, 2019

Lawsuit Prompts Happy Apple Caramel Apples Recall

A wrongful death lawsuit and Listeria outbreak has prompted Happy Apple Company to recall caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd, 2014. The recall was issued on Christmas Eve.

GavelsAccording to the Complaint (a document filed with the court), in late October, 2014, Shirlee Frey went to the Safeway store in Felton, California. While there she purchased a prepackaged caramel apple and later ate it. About a week later, she began to feel ill. On December 2, 2014, the family was informed that Mrs. Frey was suffering from literiosis (a Listeria infection). She died that day.

The listeriosis wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mrs. Frey’s family on December 22, 2014.

On Christmas Eve, Happy Apple Company announced the caramel apple recall. Happy Apple caramel apples are sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin.

The Happy Apple caramel apples were distributed to the following stores at some locations: Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Safeway.  They were also distributed to other retailers.

To date, there are 29 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis that are part of the outbreak linked to caramel apples.  All of these, one of whom was Mrs. Frey, were sickened by the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. People were sickened in 10 states: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

Minnesota was the first state to sound the alarm. The 4 people sickened in that state purchased the prepackaged caramel apples at Cub Foods (owned by Supervalu), Kwik Trip (a convenience store and gas station) and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples.

All 29 ill people were hospitalized.  According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), 5 people died in the outbreak, 9 illnesses were pregnancy-related (pregnant woman or newborn baby), 3 children between the ages of 5 and 15 got Listeria meningitis (an infection of the lining of the brain).

Lawyers for Mrs. Frey’s family have sued Safeway, Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

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