Federal agencies have yet to name particular brands or stores in their investigation of a nation-wide outbreak of Listeria linked to prepackaged caramel apples, although some states are naming names. Minnesota has named two brands, including Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brands, as well as the stores where the products were sold, which include Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike’s Discount Foods. According to health officials, both of those brands of caramel apples are distributed by a Minnesota company, H. Brooks & Company.
But other retailers are taking action on their own, and out of an abundance of caution Safeway stores have pulled all prepackaged caramel apples from their stores in an effort to avoid unwanted illnesses from this deadly pathogen – so far, at least five individuals with the outbreak strain of Listeria have died. According to Safeway’s vice president of public affairs, Brian Dowling, “we are aware of the issue regarding caramel apples and have proactively removed the product from sale in our stores. However, we are currently not aware of any illness tied to items purchased at our stores.” This action is being applauded by many food safety advocates, including Listeria lawyer Ron Simon, who represents victims of food borne illness, including Listeria, in all fifty states.
The CDC is also warning consumers not to consume prepackaged caramel apples, an action that has some producers of caramel apples coming out publically to save their bottom line. The negative publicity is compelling at least some to reassure consumers that their particular brand is safe to eat. One such brand, Mrs. Prindables’s Caramel Apples, which sells its product through QVC online and other TV shopping mediums, released a statement telling consumers that it had no reason to believe its product was not safe.
“The truth is,” says Listeria lawyer Ron Simon, “we simply do not yet know where the Listeria came from and how wide-spread the contamination is.” The outbreak is clearly not isolated geographically, as at least 10 states are now impacted. And it remains unclear if the Listeria was from a batch of adulterated caramel, a batch of adulterated apples, or introduced during packaging. The investigation remains in its infancy, and many of these answers are yet to be announced. “At present,” Simon states, “it would be prudent for consumers to avoid prepackaged caramel apples pending resolution of this investigation.” He also encourages victims to seek medical attention immediately as Listeria, or Listeriosis, can be life-threatening. The Listeria attorneys at Ron Simon & Associates are available to answer questions at 1-888-335-4901.