October 16, 2019

Arizona Shares Pain of Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

Arizona was on the receiving end of caramel apples that were contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an unfortunate distribution that left four state residents hospitalized from the potentially deadly infections that followed. The four confirmed outbreak cases in Arizona stand as the third most for any state. One of the victims was a baby with Listeria and three of the four are females who range in age up to 76. At least in Arizona, no fatalities were reported. In New Mexico and California, food safety lawyers are suing the supplier of the apples, Bidart Brothers, on behalf of several case patients, one of whom died. More litigation is expected in other states as the investigation continues into a reported 32 illnesses and seven deaths across 11 states.

Caramel ApplesEvidence of matching strains of Listeria was formulated with laboratory technology and classic epidemiology applied by state and federal food safety and health agencies, including the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For instance, the basis for a caramel apple Listeria lawsuit filed by PritzkerOlsen Attorneys was formulated by detailed traceback work that started with interviews of hospital patients who were sickened with genetically similar Listeria organisms. Commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples stood out as a common food item among case patients and sample testing of apples found the same Listeria “fingerprints.” The apples came from a California apple-packing facility operated by Bidart that also was contaminated with the bacteria.

Happy Apples, California Snack Foods, and Merb’s Candies each announced a voluntary recall of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples after hearing from Bidart Bros. In turn, Bidart on January 6 recalled all that was left of its seasonal harvest of Granny Smith and Gala apples. This outbreak started in October and people were still falling ill in December.  Ten illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her baby), with one illness resulting in a fetal loss. If you or a loved one was sickened in this outbreak, you have legal rights allowing you to hold the responsible parties accountable. PritzkerOlsen represents multiple victims in this outbreak and is continuing to accept clients. You can request a free consultation by calling 1-888-377-8900 or by leaving your contact information. A staff attorney assigned to the caramel apple Listeria lawsuit team will reach out to you.

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