Between October of 2014 and January of 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified at least 35 victims in 12 states who had acquired Listeria food poisoning from eating caramel covered apples made with Bidart Bros. apples. All but one required hospitalization. The victims all enjoyed the Halloween seasonal caramel covered apples and thereafter became ill with symptoms that, in some, developed into debilitating meningitis.
The outbreak was identified when the Minnesota Department of Health reported a series of illnesses from Listeria on December the 18th, of 2014, linked to the purchase of caramel covered apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mikes Discount Foods.
The outbreak was linked to three brands of caramel covered apples, all of which used Bidart Bros. apples. These included Happy Apple in Washington and Missouri, California Snack Foods in California, and Merb’s Candies in Missouri. Bidart Bros. is located in Bakersfield, California.
The Case of Darlene Vouri: Claims Against Bidart, Happy Apple and Wal-Mart Still Unresolved
Darlene Vouri was one of the victims having eaten a Happy Apple caramel covered apples she purchased at Wal-Mart. Her case was covered extensively in the news media. She purchased the product on October 14, 2014 at the Wal-Mart located at 5454 Crossings Drive in Rocklin, CA. By November 8th she was very ill and fell, for the first of many times, due to a severe case of Listeriosis. While hospitalized, her physicians ordered a spinal tap and culture of her cerebral spinal fluid. It was positive for Listeria, and the serotype matched the outbreak strain. Darlene has suffered severe and irreparable harm from the Listeria, and is dependent upon full-time assistance in an adult living facility.
Shortly after Darlene became ill, the owner of Bidart Bros., Leonard Bidart made a statement in which he said the outbreak had been “devastating to the Bidart family,” adding that “as a family-owned grower operating in California since the 1930s, we place safety at the forefront of everything we do. Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by the apple-related listeriosis outbreak.”
Unfortunately, Francis and Darlene’s life have also been devastated. Francis and Darlene’s claims remain unresolved.