September 30, 2016

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...]

Caramel Apple Lawsuit Filed in New Mexico

National food safety law firm PritzkerOlsen, P.A. filed a lawsuit for a mother and baby sickened in the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel apples. In late October of 2014, a member of Cathy Jone’s family purchased several prepackaged caramel apples from the Smith’s store located at 4016 Louisiana Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Cathy Jones, pregnant at the time, ate one. On November 7, she began to feel ill. On November 8, her son was born several months prematurely. The baby was diagnosed with Listeria monocytogenes. He stayed in the hospital neonatal intensive care unit for over four weeks. Health officials from the New Mexico Department of Health performed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) testing on the sample of Listeria monocytogenes … [Read more...]

In Canada, More Caramel Apples Recalled for Listeria

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are recalling apples sourced from the United States for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The products were sold at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at 23 Rowan Street in St. John's, NL. No illnesses are associated with these specific products, but there is a listeriosis outbreak in Canada linked to imported Bidart Brothers apples that were used to make caramel apples. The recalled products are Classic M&M Caramel Apples sold from December 23, 2014 up to and including January 7, 2015. Also recalled is Classic Almond Caramel Apples sold from December 23, 2014 up to and including January 7, 2015. Finally, Original Caramel Aples sold from December 23, 2014 up to and including January 7, 2015 … [Read more...]

CDC Updates Listeria Caramel Apple Outbreak: 7 Dead

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the investigation into the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. As of January 10, 2015, 32 people in 11 states are sickened in this outbreak; 31 people have been hospitalized, three have Listeria meningitis, and seven people have died. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of these deaths. It's not clear whether or not a Listeria infection contributed to the newly reported death. The case count remains the same as the last update on December 31, 2014, but one more person has died. The case count by state is: Arizona (4), California (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and … [Read more...]

Listeria Caramel Apple Brands Sold in MN, Upper Midwest Named

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture just released a list of caramel apple brand names associated with the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is ongoing in 11 states. The apples were produced using produce from Bidart Brothers Apple Packing of Shafter, California. Bidart Brothers just recalled all of their Gala and Granny Smith apples produced in 2014 after Listeria monocytogenes was found in their packing plant. The recalled brands include 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. These caramel apple brands were sold in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The products were plain, and … [Read more...]

Bidart Listeria Recall in Canada Expands to Include Full Year of Gala Apples

Bidart Brothers has expanded its apple recall for Listeria to include a second variety, Gala, in Canada, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The recall is for all Gala apples produced in 2014. The initial recall, issued December 24, 2014, was for Granny Smith apples produced during 2014. Consumers, retailers, restaurants and institutions should not eat or use the recalled products which may have been sold under other brand names. Anyone with questions about whether apples they purchased are included in the recall should contact the location where they were purchased. Bidart Brothers apples have been linked to a Listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 32 people in the U.S.  Two people in Canada have been sickened by the same strain.  One case is in Ontario, and the … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Outbreak Warning: Listeria Can Grow in Freezer

The ongoing Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples has brought this bacteria into the spotlight. At least 32 people are sickened; 31 have been hospitalized, six people have died, and three children have Listeria meningitis. There are many things we don't know about this pathogen, but we do know it's a tricky little bug. Listeria is present in the environment and can live in the intestines of animals, birds, and people without causing illness. It can also have a long incubation period, up to 70 days, from the time of exposure to when symptoms first appear. But the trickiest thing about Listeria monocytogenes is that it can grow at refrigerator and freezer temperatures which are the traditional preservation methods used for … [Read more...]

Happy Apple Expands Recall to Include Kroger Caramel Apples

Happy Apple Company is expanding their recall of caramel apples to include Kroger brand caramel apples. These apples are associated with the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has sickened at least 32 people in 11 states and killed six. Three children have developed Listeria meningitis as a result of their illnesses. The Kroger apples have a best use by date between September 15 and November 18, 2014 and were sold in single packs and three packs. They were distributed to retailers in Arizona, Alaska, Kansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. You can see pictures of product labels at the FDA web site. Bidart Brothers, one of Happy Apple's suppliers, recently told the company that there may be a connection between the … [Read more...]

FDA: Bidart Brothers Recalled Granny Smith Apples Linked to Listeria Outbreak

It's been two weeks since the multistate Listeria outbreak linked to prepackaged, commercially prepared caramel apples was announced. The outbreak has now sickened 32 people in 11 states. Six deaths have been reported. As details of traceback investigations into the source of the outbreak have emerged, a link to apples produced by Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, Calif. has been established. But the company has never issued a recall. At least not publicly. In its December 31 update on the outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Bidart Brothers has issued two recalls. "On December 22, 2014, Bidart Bros. issued a recall of Granny Smith apples it sold in 2014 to those customers known to produce caramel apples.  Then, on December 24, 2014, Bidart Bros. notified all … [Read more...]

Pacific Coast Fruit Joins Caramel Apple Recall

Pacific Coast Fruit of Portland, Ore. is notifying all of its customers who received Happy Apple caramel apples that they have been recalled for Listeria. The company, distributes fruit in Oregon, southwest Washington and British Columbia. Happy Apples ceased production of caramel apples in October as part of a routine, seasonal shut down and the caramel apples produced are no longer available in stores. But a recall has been issued for caramel apples with "best if used by" dates between August 25th and November 23rd. The recall was issued after Bidart Brothers, which supplies apples to the Happy Apple's California facility, notified the company that there may be a connection between a listeriosis outbreak and the apples supplied to that facility. Symptoms Listeria food poisoning can … [Read more...]

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