October 25, 2016

FDA 483 Report on Bidart Brothers Apples Finds Listeria

According to FDA's form 483, inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria at the Bidart Brothers packing house. A multistate outbreak of Listeria was linked to commercially produced caramel apples made from that company's produce. The report, based on inspections conducted on December 23, 24, and 29 in 2014 and on January 6, 2015 states "during an inspection of your firm we observed food that has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filthy, or whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health." The inspectors were officials form the FDA and the California Department of Public Health. FDA inspectors collected 110 environmental swabs from food and non-food contact surfaces in the packaging area, common cold … [Read more...]

How the Government Solved the Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially prepared caramel apples (and some plain apples) last fall was a scary time. People don't usually think of something as innocuous as a caramel apple as being a vehicle for pathogenic bacteria. But fruits and vegetables are often contaminated. In this particular outbreak, at least 35 people in 12 states were sickened, and the illness contributed to at least three of the seven reported deaths. The outbreak was difficult to solve, since the product was made from several ingredients, including wooden sticks and sprinkles. The Listeria Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) Project was a big help for government officials in solving the outbreak. Government scientists used samples from patients, foods, and the environment at Bidart … [Read more...]

Sequencing the Deadly Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

Starting in October 2014 when the caramel apple Listeria outbreak was claiming its first victims, public health officials in states like Minnesota, Arizona, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas were about to receive the first indications of a lethal food poisoning problem from an unlikely source. It took two months to coalesce, but state reporting of individual cases of listeriosis and federal monitoring of those reports with a system of genetic fingerprinting tied the cases together: pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples were making people deathly ill and sending them to the hospital. Listeria lawsuit court records, state health agency documents, outbreak reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an investigation summary filed by the Food and Drug … [Read more...]

Paris Researchers Find Placental Breach Mechanism for Listeria

As the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks linked to recalled caramel apples made from Bidart brothers apples, and to Queseria Bendita cheese point out, pregnant women are very susceptible to these bacterial infections. In the caramel apple outbreak, ten pregnant women were sickened; one woman suffered a fetal loss. In the Queseria Bendita cheese outbreak, one infection was associated with a pregnancy. Scientists believe that the bacteria get into the placenta and hide from the mother's immune system, letting them multiple to dangerous levels. But the placental barrier usually acts as a barrier to bacteria. What makes Listeria different? Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris have found that Listeria survives and grows within the intestinal lumen (channels in the … [Read more...]

Bidart Bros. Publicly Contrite Over Listeria Caramel Apple Outbreak

The California company at the center of a Listeria caramel apple lawsuit has expressed sorrow for victims of the outbreak and pledged to work in complete cooperation with ongoing investigations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In a public letter published on the FDA's food safety pages, the family-owned company also said it received annual USDA certification in September 2014, just one month before the outbreak began. "Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by the apple-related listeriosis outbreak,'' said Leonard Bidart, president of Bidart Bros. "As a family-owned grower operating in California since the 1930s, we place safety at the forefront of everything we … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Lawsuit Filed Against Walmart, Bidart

Walmart and Bidart Brothers Apple Packing are named as defendants in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a California woman who has spent more than a month in the hospital after contracting listeriosis from a caramel apple. The suit was filed January 13 in Superior Court in Sacramento. According to the complaint,  Darlene Vouri and her husband Francis Vouri purchase caramel apples on October 14, 2014 from the Wal–Mart located at 5454 Crossings Drive in Rocklin, Calif. Within a few days of eating them, Darlene began to experince symptoms of a Listeria infection including headache, neck pain, fatigue, chills, and muscle aches and weakness. Over the course of the next two weeks, Mrs. Vouri went to the doctor several times as her condition deteriorated.  On November 8, she collapsed and was … [Read more...]

Listeria Found at Bidart Brothers Apple Plant: Recall Issued

The FDA announced the results of tests performed on samples taken from Bidart Brothers apple processing plant. Government officials confirmed that two strains of Listeria monocytogenes found at the facility are believed to be the same strains associated with the Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 32 people in 11 states. Those same strains were found in Bidart Brothers apples collected by the FDA from a retailer. The company has issued a voluntary recall of all Bidart Brothers Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace. The company last shipped Granny Smith apples to customers on December 2, 2014. Consumers should not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples being recalled. The apples are sold under brand names "Big B" and "Granny's Best", though they could … [Read more...]

Bidart Brothers and the Caramel Apple Listeria Investigation

Food safety investigators in the United States are still probing to decipher what caused the deadly outbreak of Listeria poisoning associated with commercially made caramel apples, including whether there are common sources of caramel, caramel ingredients, sticks, or packaging to the various makers of these caramel apples. So far, the biggest common denominator between companies involved in the recall of potentially contaminated caramel apples is Bidart Brothers, the fruit supplier. Based on documents released so far by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California-based Bidart Bros. was first briefed about its possible involvement in the outbreak by FDA officials on December 22. On that same day, the company issued a recall of … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Lawsuit Names Happy Apple, Bidart Brothers, Safeway

A wrongful death lawsuit filed in connection with the caramel apple Listeria outbreak names the apple grower, the caramel apple maker and the store that sold the contaminated product as defendants.  Filed on behalf of one of the three people who have died in this 10-state outbreak, the wrongful death lawsuit initially named Safeway, the store where the caramel apple was purchased. But, after a recall was issued, the grower, Bidart Brothers, and the maker, Happy Apple, were added. According to the lawsuit, Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, died after contracting listeriosis from a caramel apple she purchased at Safeway just before Halloween. She began to feel ill the first week of November and was dead one month later. The two other deaths were reported in Minnesota, which has been hard hit by … [Read more...]

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