Health officials are urging consumers to avoid eating pre-packaged caramel apples because they have been linked to at least 7 deaths and 32 illnesses in 10 states. All of the people were infected with the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes, and most (83%) reported eating caramel apples before getting sick.
Free Caramel Apple Listeria Food Poisoning Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one was sickened after eating caramel apples, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
Of the 32 patients with listeria food poisoning (listeriosis), at least 31 required emergency hospitalization. Of these, 7 died. Listeriosis caused or contributed to at least 4 of the deaths, according to an FDA Warning issued Dec. 19. Another person who died had the bacteria in their body, but it was not believed to have caused the death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the investigation is still evolving, and officials are still trying to determine which brands of caramel apples are involved and how they became infected.
The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed 2 deaths related to the outbreak; all who were sickened in the state reportedly purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip or Mike’s Discount Foods. Those stores carried Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples, none of which are still available for purchase.
The other two deaths occurred in Texas and California. CDC is aware of listeriosis cases related to the outbreak in Arizona, California, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
CDC said the outbreak began Oct. 17, with the last known illnesses reported Nov. 27. Illnesses that began in early December may not have been reported yet. Patients with listeriosis ranged from 7 to 92 years old.
Nine cases involved either a pregnant woman or an infant. Listeriosis is especially dangerous for pregnant women because the illness can be passed to a fetus, even if the mother is asymptomatic.
Strangely, 3 cases of meningitis linked to the outbreak were reported in older children, the CDC said. Those children were not among the deaths, but the agency is concerned that meningitis occurred in otherwise healthy children, which is extremely rare.
CDC is advising anyone with commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples at home to throw them away immediately, taking care to wrap them up well so animals or people going through trash don’t eat them.
Simultaneously, 2 other cases of listeriosis, both in Washington state, were linked to frozen desserts made by Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream. Both patients are recovering and remain hospitalized. Meanwhile, the company issued a recall for its ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet of all flavors. The products were distributed in 14 states. It is still unclear whether the ice cream-related listeria infections are linked to the caramel apple-related infections.
Kroger Pulls Caramel Apples Over Potential Listeria Contamination
October 15, 2015 – Kroger Co. has pulled unrefrigerated caramel apples from its store shelves after a study published by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) found that the products were at risk for listeria contamination when pierced with a stick. Specifically, the study found that piercing an apple causes some juice to become trapped under the caramel, creating an environment that fosters the growth of listeria already present on the apple’s surface. Click here to learn more.
Bidart Bros. Recalls Gala, Granny Smith Apples
Jan. 9, 2014 – Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, CA announced this week that it is recalling apples shipped from its Shafter plant after it was determined the company supplied 2 commercial brands linked to the ongoing listeria outbreak. Health officials from the FDA and California Department of Health investigated the facility and found evidence of listeria on surfaces likely to come into contact with apples. Click here to learn more.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Over Listeria-Tainted Caramel Apples
The family of a woman who allegedly died after eating a listeria-tainted caramel apple has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Safeway grocery store in Felton, CA. 81-year-old Shirlee Jean Frey died of listeriosis on Dec. 2, after doctors confirmed her illness was part of the ongoing multi-state outbreak tied to pre-packaged caramel apples. Click here to learn more.
Senator Petitions FDA to Investigate Listeria Outbreak
Jan. 29, 2015 – Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar today sent a letter to the FDA requesting that it conduct a post-response analysis to the recent listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples:
“No one who bites into a caramel apple should have to worry it could make them sick or even take their life – but that’s exactly what happened to unsuspecting consumers in Minnesota and across the country,” Klobuchar said. “This winter’s outbreak of listeriosis underscored the critical importance of ensuring the safety of our country’s food supply. Now that the FDA and its partner agencies have pinpointed the source of this deadly outbreak, they need to conduct a thorough review of the response effort to ensure that future incidents are quickly contained or prevented entirely.”
Click here to read Senator Klobuchar’s letter in its entirety.
Do I have a Caramel Apple Listeria Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Food Poisoning Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in caramel apple food poisoning lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new listeria cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or someone you know was diagnosed with listeria food poisoning (listeriosis) after eating caramel apples, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a food poisoning suit and our lawyers can help.