Our Listeria lawyers, the Bad Bug Law Team, are representing the family of a baby who was born with listeriosis and became critically ill. The baby was one of 9 babies born with this disease whose mothers ate a caramel apple before giving birth.
Caramel Apple Outbreak
In October through December of 2014, the CDC was notified of 32 cases in 11 states:
Arizona (4), California (2), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), Nevada (1), New Mexico (6), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).
Of them, 31 have been hospitalized and 6 of them died. Ten illnesses were pregnancy-related, with one illness resulting in a fetal loss. These cases have been linked to caramel apples sold at grocery stores and other locations. To date, the caramel apple brands named in interviews include Happy Apple, Carnival and Merb’s Candies. However, the investigation is ongoing and other brands may be identified.
On December 18, 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that the 4 people sickened in that state purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples.
Three companies have issued voluntary recalls of caramel apples because they have the potential to be contaminated with L. monocytogenes. These companies are:
- Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri (Happy Apple and Kroger brands);
- California Snack Foods, of El Monte, California (Karm’l Dapple brand); and
- Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, Missouri.
The recalls were issued because the companies had used Bidart Bros. apples for some of their caramel apples.
The FDA has traced the distribution of the caramel apples eaten by eight ill people involved in the outbreak. Although the Happy Apple Company and Merb’s Candies receive apples from other growers, the FDA’s ongoing traceback investigation has confirmed that Bidart Bros. is the only apple grower that supplied apples to both companies.
Bidart Brothers, a California company, supplies apples throughout the U.S. The company’s apples were used to make caramel apples linked to an outbreak of L. monocytogenes infections.
The FDA has found evidence of poor conditions at the Bidart Brothers. Further investigation and analysis will need to be done to determine whether these conditions caused the outbreak, but it appears that is what happened.
- 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.
- On December 24, 2014, the company notified all customers receiving Granny Smith apples in 2014 to recall those apples if they had been used to make caramel apples.
- On January 6, 2015, Bidart Bros. expanding its voluntary recall to all Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from the company’s Shafter, California packing facility in 2014.