Candied Apples & Food Recalls
Listeria monocytogenes (listeria) is a dangerous foodborne bacteria that can cause food poisoning and lead to a fatal infection called Listeriosis.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating a widespread, multi-state listeria food poisoning outbreak affecting more than 11 states. Candied apples in general have all been placed on the do not consume list by the nation’s premier food safety and health organizations.
The source of the listeria bacteria contamination has been identified as Bidart Brothers, a California-based apple supplier, who supplied apples to companies across America who produce caramel and other candied apple products.
Symptoms of Listeria Poisoning
Listeria poisoning is most common in individuals who are young, elderly or who have compromised immune systems.
A listeria infection can be fatal and it is particularly dangerous for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Women who consumed apples while pregnant or breast feeding must monitor their infants to ensure that a listeria infection has not been passed on to the newborn.
If a woman has eaten caramel apples while pregnant she should share her concerns with her doctor immediately. The infection poses a danger to helpless infants still in utero.
Listeria poisoning symptoms unique to infants include:
- No desire to feed
- Continuous irritability
In adults, the short-term listeria poisoning symptoms include:
- High fever
- Stiff joints
- Generalized abdominal pain
More serious listeria poisoning effects include:
- Loss of balance
- Listeria-related bacterial meningitis (at times this condition is fatal)
Medical researchers estimate that approximately 20 percent of individuals who contract a listeria infection will die.
The most dangerous thing about listeria infections is that the symptoms do not necessarily show up right away. Medical professionals have reported that symptoms can be delayed by weeks or months. This means that you may have consumed a contaminated caramel apple one or two months before you show symptoms.
Consumers who have consumed caramel apples must monitor for listeria symptoms for 3-6 months after exposure. If you experience any of the foregoing symptoms, immediately contact your doctor.
At least six deaths have been attributed to the listeria food poisoning epidemic and three of them have been confirmed by the CDC. More than 30 consumers from eleven different states have been hospitalized, including:
- Arizona (4)
- California (2)
- Minnesota (4)
- Missouri (5)
- Nevada (1)
- New Mexico (6)
- North Carolina (1)
- Texas (4)
- Utah (1)
- Washington (1)
- Wisconsin (3)
There have also been two recorded hospitalizations in Canada. There is growing concern that not all of the affected candied apples on the shelves have been recalled. Thus far, the following companies have recalled their candied apples:
- Merb’s Candies
- California Snack Food
- Happy Apple
Rather than simply avoid purchasing and eating the apples that have been recalled, consumers are being warned to avoid all caramel and candied apples until this dangerous listeria outbreak has been contained.
What Should I Do?
The bottom line is that everyone should avoid purchasing or eating all prepackaged caramel apples including those with alternative toppings, such as:
The FDA has recommended that consumers dispose of all caramel apples purchased in retail locations and farmer’s markets. When disposing of caramel apples, it is important that consumers use a secure container before placing them in the garbage.
Securely disposing of caramel apples is necessary to ensure that young children, homeless individuals and animals cannot access the potentially contaminated apples.
Another option is to return caramel apples to the stores where they were purchased. When returning apples to a store or disposing of them, make sure you keep a record of what you purchased and where you purchased it.
You may also want to keep the receipt, take pictures of the barcode and ensure that you have a record of the apples in case anyone in your family becomes ill and you need legal assistance.
Listeria Injury Lawsuit Attorneys
If you or someone you love has consumed caramel apples and has become ill, contact a knowledgeable listeria poisoning attorneyat Peterson & Associates, P.C.P.C. We have decades of experience holding food companies accountable.
Attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C.are actively helping families investigate their legal options after eating candied apples and becoming sick. We offer free consultations and you have nothing to lose by talking to us.