Early last month, Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California, recalled their supplies of Granny Smith and Gala apples as they were determined to be contaminated with listeria. As a result, Happy Apples, California Snack Foods, and Merb’s Candies—caramel apple producers supplied by Bidart Brothers—also recalled their caramel apple products. But not before the damage was done.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s final report on the outbreak:

  • A total of 35 people were infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from 12 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin).
  • Of these, 34 people were hospitalized. Listeriosis contributed to at least three of the seven deaths reported.
  • Eleven illnesses were pregnancy-related (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant), with one illness resulting in a fetal loss.
  • Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) were among otherwise healthy children aged 5–15 years.
  • Twenty-eight (90%) of the 31 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.

Although the matter is considered “closed,” it is still possible for consumers to have the caramel apples from these companies in their homes. If you have purchased caramel apples within the last two months or if you know someone who has, check the labels to see if they come from one of the above producers. If you have recently eaten caramel apples and have exhibited any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting

For more information on common types of foodborne illnesses and food poisoning, visit the Health section of your portal or contact your Client Services representative.

Marlia Fontaine-Weisse is the Content Manager for Preparis.