May 21, 2019

Caramel Apple Listeria Recall Totaled 15.25 Million Pounds

New enforcement documents on file with the Food and Drug Administration show the full spectrum of apple recalls made by Bidart Bros. — a voluntary action that applied to 15.25 million pounds of Gala and Granny Smith varieties from the 2014 harvest. The product quantities totaled 33,900 cases of Gala apples and 347,970 cases of Granny Smith apples, with each case weighing between 40-45 pounds, according to the reports. Distribution incorporated Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Tennessess, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, Maryland, Oregon, Kansas, Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri and Canada.

Caramel applesThe Bakersfield, Calif., company is facing numerous Listeria apple lawsuits in connection with an outbreak that hospitalized 34 people in 12 states. Commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples were cited by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the likely cause of the outbreak, which started making people sick in October and lasted into January. Seven people died, but some deaths were from underlying causes that preceded listeriosis.

CDC’s outbreak summary indicated that multiple companies made the caramel apples, but Bidardt Bros. was their common supplier of fruit. Investigation revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple-packing facility from strains of the pathogen that were “highly related” to the bacteria  found in case patients.

Bidart initiated its recall Dec. 22, 2014. The new documents describe the recalled items as all Granny Smith and Gala apples produced or sold by Bidart in 2014 “for use in manufacturing of caramel apples.” The FDA report does not indicate how many apples were returned to Bidart and there would be no way of knowing how many consumers destroyed the apples once the recall was announced. The documents state the reason for the recall was “due to their association with listeriosis outbreak.”

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