July 19, 2019

Wisconsin Included in Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak, Recall

Wisconsin has three confirmed cases of listeriosis in the U.S. caramel apple Listeria outbreak and also received deliveries of Happy Apples, a product made in Missouri that has been recalled because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, according to separate CDC and FDA announcements. The Happy Apple Company recall was announced via the FDA on Christmas Eve, two days after the CDC added a confirmed case of listeriosis to Wisconsin’s outbreak count. Now with three caramel apple Listeria cases, Wisconsin is home to 10 percent of the nation’s 29 confirmed outbreak patients. Wisconsin’s neighbor to the west, Minnesota, has four confirmed cases, including two deaths.

A caramel apple lawsuit was filed in California shortly before the recall was announced. Happy Apple’s statement said: “We have been working with the Food and Drug Administration in their investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis which has been associated with caramel apples. We recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of our apple suppliers to our California facility that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility.”

According to the recall, do not eat Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd 2014. The coated apples were sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs and each package. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores. We are aware of 4 stores where the recalled apples were sold: Safeway, Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike’s Discount Food.

To date, five case patients in the outbreak have died, although one death was attributed to an unrelated cause.  Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico all contain multiple illnesses associated with the outbreak. According to ongoing guidance by the CDC, consumers are not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples of any kind — including ones with toppings — until health investigators determine the full origins of the outbreak. People started to get sick in October and more illnesses cropped up in November. As the investigation continues, more cases could be uncovered.

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