The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Saturday confirmed that the Listeria outbreak was caused by pre-packed caramel apples and have been linked to a California apple plant. All Granny Smith and Gala apples have been recalled by Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield.
The FDA stated that the collected samples from Bidart Brothers and the strains of the people who fell ill had matched. The latest shipment of apples from the supplier from Dec. 2 is still available in the market. Other caramel apple makers like Happy Apple Co, Washington; California Snack Foods, California and Merb’s Candies of St.Louis had recalled the products.
“As a family owned grower operating in California since the 1930’s we place safety at the forefront of everything we do,” said Leonard Bidart, Bidart Brothers president.
The FDA had also found listeria in the company’s whole apples collected from the company distribution chain. During October and December, about 32 people fell ill and seven people died from the outbreak. However there were no reports of outbreak from caramel apples in fairs. The outbreak affected about 10 pregnant women including one victim who lost a fetus. Bidart added that their hearts went out to all the victims who had to suffer as a result of the outbreak.
Listeria is quite common in the environment as it is found in food processing plants, refrigerators, soil and cattle but is destroyed by cooking and pasteurization. In 2012, about 22 people died of Listeria outbreak caused by Ricotta cheese from Italy.
Two cases of listeriosis with the same genetic fingerprint of the bacteria in United States is being investigated though they have not found the source of the outbreak. The infection comes with fever, muscle ache, headache and confusion symptoms. The disease usually affects pregnant women, older adults, children and people with a weak immune system.
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