January 23, 2018

Consumers: Tell Us Stores, Brand Names in Bidart Apple Recall

Consumers are frustrated with the lack of information federal health officials are providing about the Bidart Brothers apple recall. Bidart Brothers apples have been linked to a caramel apple Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 32 people in 11 states, killing six of them. Now, all the Gala and Granny Smith apples the company packed in 2014 have been recalled for Listeria, but consumers aren’t being told which stores sold them or which brand names they were sold under. Instead, they are being advised to contact the store where they were purchased and ask who the supplier was. The comment sections for online stories about the recall have summed up the advice, euphemistically, in one word: ridiculous.

Caramel ApplesSo far, the two brand names for Bidart Bros. Gala and Granny Smith apples that have been made public, Big B and Granny’s Best, came courtesy of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which is investigating two cases that my be linked to the U.S. outbreak. Thank you, Canada.

In addition to crummy advice, consumers have also received bad information from federal agencies charged with protecting their health. Both agencies have repeatedly stated that no illnesses have been linked to apples that weren’t caramel-coated and that all 26 case patients interviewed ate caramel apples. But yesterday the CDC said that only 23 of the 26 case patients had eaten caramel apples before becoming sick with Listeria infections. “The three ill people interviewed who did not report eating caramel apples did report eating whole or sliced green apples not covered in caramel. The source of these apples is unknown, and it is unknown whether these apples are linked to the patients’ illnesses.”

So, until yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been warning consumers only about pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples.

And, until yesterday, both agencies stated in all of their updates about the outbreak that no illnesses had been linked to apples that were not caramel-coated. “At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy,” the CDC stated in its initial announcement of the outbreak December 18 and in updates on December 22 and December 31. The FDA update still says:  “No illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and are not prepackaged and no illnesses have been linked to caramel candy.”

But now it turns out that three patients didn’t eat caramel apples. They ate whole and sliced apples not covered in caramel and got sick from the exact same strain of Listeria that sickened the 23 other case patients. It’s no fault of the three people who got sick that they can’t remember where they bought apples two months ago or what the brand name of the apples was. But the FDA and the CDC have known about the Bidart connection to this outbreak for a month, shouldn’t they have a list of names by now?

Comments

  1. frances mcgoldrick says:

    Thanks for the info. I am very concerned because I only eat gala Apple’s. I just called my pathmark & they know nothing about a recall. I will call in the morning armed with the information you shared

  2. Those who are bought and paid for, always serve their masters. Obviously, the FnDA doesn’t work for the benefit of the American people. We don’t have ‘deep’ enough pockets.

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