December 2, 2023

Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak Struck 12th State, CO, Before Ending

The caramel apple Listeria outbreak spread to a 12th state, Colorado, before ending with 35 sick and seven dead, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s final report. State an federal health agencies did not provide the age or gender of the case patient in Colorado who was among the 34 people hospitalized with Listeria infections.

listeria-caramel-appleAll but three of those sickened reported eating commercially prepared, pre-packaged caramel apples before they became ill. A number of recalls were issued for caramel apples. An apple recall was also issued after tests on apples from one supplier, Bidart Brothers, were positive for Listeria.

The recalled Gala and Granny Smith apples were sold under various brand names including Granny’s Best and Big B.

The recalled caramel apples were  sold under the Kroger and Happy Apples brand names at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Safeway, United Supermarkets, Amigos, Albertsons Market, Market Street and United Express stores .

They were also sold under the Merb’s Candies brand in the St. Louis area and under the Karm’l Dapple brand name at grocery, discount, and club stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.

In Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan, caramel apples that were potentially contaminated with Listeria but not recalled were sold under the brands: Aamodt’s, Abdallah, Angeli Foods, Candy Jar, Carnival, Celebration, Circle K, Finnottes, Grandma Bev’s, Jerry’s Foods, Karamel King, Kowalski’s Markets, Kitchen Cravings, Lunds & Byerly’s, Supermom’s, and Wescott.

Caramel apples sold at Smith’s Food and Drug in New Mexico have been linked to the outbreak.

The three patients who contracted Listeria from the outbreak strain but did nor eat caramel apples, reported they did eat whole or sliced green apples before becoming ill. The source and brand names of these apples is unknown.

Listeria infections cause symptoms including fever, muscle aches, headache, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Among pregnant women, Listeria infections can trigger miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery and Listeria meningitis in newborns.

In this outbreak, 11 cases were associated with pregnancy including three premature births and one fetal loss.  Three pediatric cases of Listeria meningitis were also reported. A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a woman and her newborn baby who was born with a Listeria infection.

Case patients, who ranged in age from newborn to 92 with a median age of 62, reported onset of illness from October 17, 2014, to January 6, 2015. The 12 states reporting cases in the outbreak are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.



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