According to Bidart Bros., today the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the results of findings from additional tests performed on samples collected from Bidart Bros. apple processing plant near Bakersfield, California. Test results confirm two strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found at the apple processing facility and are believed to be the same strains associated with the outbreak. Those same strains were also found in Bidart Bros. apples collected from a retailer by the FDA.
Today, the CDC confirmed that the majority of the persons made ill reported consuming caramel-coated apples. “To date, 23 (88%) of the 26 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill. Caramel apple brands named in interviews have included Happy Apples, Carnival, and Merb’s Candies. However, the investigation is ongoing and other brands may be identified. The three ill people interviewed who did not report eating caramel apples did report eating whole or sliced green apples not covered in caramel. The source of these apples is unknown, and it is unknown whether these apples are linked to the patients’ illnesses.”
Given the findings from the latest test results, and out of an abundance of caution, the company has instituted a voluntary recall of all Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace. Bidart Bros. is contacting all of their retailers with specific instructions as to how to return those apples to Bidart Bros. Bidart Bros. last shipped Granny Smith apples to customers on December 2, 2014.
Consumers should not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples being recalled by Bidart Bros. These apples can be sold under the brand names “Big B” and “Granny’s Best,” though, they could also be sold under other brand names or with no brand at all. Consumers who are buying or have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailers if the apples were supplied by Bidart Bros.
The CDC reports as of December 30, 2014, a total of 32 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 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).