Listeria is Thankfully Rare – About 1,600 people in the US get sick from Listeria germs each year.
However, Listeria is a Killer – Listeria is the 3rd leading cause of death from food poisoning.
Listeria Attacks the Most Vulnerable – At least 90% of people who get Listeria infections are either pregnant women and their newborns, people 65 or older, or people with weakened immune systems.
From an FDA Christmas Eve Recall Notice: Happy Apples, is issuing a voluntary recall of Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd 2014, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Happy Apple caramel apples are sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs and each package will have a best use by date on the front of the label. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: 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, Wisconsin.
As has been reported in the news, the Center for Disease Control has noted 29 illnesses in 10 states linked to the outbreak and they have advised consumers not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples until more is known. Canada has also reported two likely Listeria illnesses.
Happy Apple reported that it recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of its apple suppliers to the Orosi California facility, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Happy Apples in 2007 agreed to pay $599,000 to settle federal charges following the raid by federal agents. Federal authorities said the company had employed dozens of people illegally for more than five years.