Two companies recalling caramel apples following listeria outbreak

by Keith Nunes
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The Happy Apple Co. is one of two companies that has initiated recalls of caramel apples following a listeria outbreak.

WASHINGTON — Two companies, the Happy Apple Co., Washington, Mo., and California Snack Foods, South El Monte, Calif., have initiated recalls of caramel apples manufactured by each business that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Both companies said they initiated the recalls after being informed by one of their apple suppliers, Bidart Brothers Apple Packing, Shafter, Calif., that there may be a link between the outbreak and its apples. Bidart Brothers has not initiated a recall.

The outbreak prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend on Dec. 18 that consumers avoid eating caramel apple products until the agency’s investigation is complete.

On Dec. 24, the Happy Apple Co. said it was recalling all Happy Apple brand caramel apples that featured a best use date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23. The products are sold in a variety of formats, including single, three, four and eight packs of caramel apples, and were distributed to the states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

“We have been working with the Food and Drug Administration in their investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis, which has been associated with caramel apples,” the company said in a statement. “We recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of our apple suppliers to our California facility, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility.”

Happy Apple’s production of caramel apples is seasonal, and the company said it ceased manufacturing in October. The recall it announced Dec. 24 was “out of an abundance of caution,” the company said.

On Dec. 27, California Snack Foods said it was recalling its Karm’l Dapple brand of caramel apples manufactured between Aug. 15 and Nov. 28. The products were distributed in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

As of Dec. 22, the C.D.C. said a total of 29 people have fallen ill due to the outbreak and 5 had died. Cases have been identified in 10 states, including Arizona (4 cases of illness), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1) and Wisconsin (3).
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