Blog Archives

FirstFruits Marketing donates over 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington finished its sixth annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger program at select retailers with a collective donation of 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks. This brings the total program donation to approximately 1,600,000 pounds over six seasons.
 
TAB-logo 1 FirstFruits created Take a Bite Out of Hunger with the goal of helping feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. In its sixth year, FirstFruits continues to partner with retailers and wholesalers to make fresh apple donations. Donations are made in a retailer’s name to local food banks with the retailer contributing the cost of freight. This year’s participating retailers and wholesalers included Ahold, Charlie’s Produce, Dave’s Marketplace, Good Food Stores, Harvey’s, McKay’s Markets, Northwest Grocers, Red Apple Markets, Roundy’s, Stater Brothers, Super 1 Foods, Thriftway and United Supermarkets.
 
“The Take a Bite Out of Hunger program continues to grow every year thanks to the continued support and dedication from our partners,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits.  “Their participation is not just about the donation, but also about engaging and educating consumers about the issues surrounding hunger.”
 
Hunger isn’t just about being hungry. It’s about food insecurity, or not having regular access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods. As of 2014, 14 percent of all U.S. households were food-insecure according to the USDA. Of those, households with children reported food insecurity at a higher rate than those without children — 19 percent compared to 12 percent.
 
The Take a Bite Out of Hunger™ program provides full retail support with campaign-themed polybags and merchandisers, point-of-sale cards and ad slicks. At the conclusion of the program, local press is invited to cover the food bank donations.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Superfresh Growers expects large sized apples and pears for new crop year

Yakima, WA- July 15, 2016 Domex Superfresh Growers is gearing up for new crop northwest apples and pears. They expect a promotable crop of large sized, flavorful fruit, thanks to optimal spring and summer growing conditions.

“Cell division has been terrific, due to another early bloom and moderate spring and summer temperatures,” says Mike Preacher, director of marketing and customer relations for Domex Superfresh Growers. “We expect apples to peak on 88-count and larger, and D’anjou pears will peak on larger sizes this season. Additionally, we expect the fruit to have good color and flavor. All of this means great sales opportunities for retailers, and great eating experiences for customers.”

“With large sizes on the horizon, retailers should also consider adding or moving to five pound bags,” Preacher said.

Bartlett pear harvest is expected to begin the last week of July, and apple harvest will start the first week of August.

The timing of this year’s crop is early, similar to last season. “This allows for Labor Day and Back-to-School promotions of apples and pears,” says Preacher. He added that “with the northwest cherry crop potentially ending a couple weeks earlier than normal, apples and pears will make a great choice for filling promotional space.”

Domex Superfresh Growers is a leading grower and shipper of both conventional and organic apples, pears, cherries and apricots from the Pacific Northwest.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

CDC Update: 32 Listeria Illnesses in 11 States, 2 in Canada Linked to Caramel Apples

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) again updated information regarding the multi-state Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel apples. As of Dec. 30, there were 32 illnesses reported in 11 states, including 31 hospitalizations and six deaths.

According to CDC, Listeriosis contributed to three of the deaths reported to date, but it is not clear whether it contributed to another two. The sixth death was unrelated to Listeriosis, CDC stated.

The new cases were reported from CA (one more, for a total of two), NM (one more, for a total of six), and one in NV (which previously had not had any cases reported). The rest are in Arizona (4), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

CDC reports that the dates when the Listeria strains were isolated range from Oct. 17, 2014, to Dec. 11, 2014. Ten illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (the illness occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). One fetal loss has been reported.

Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 66 years, and 32 percent were female, CDC reported.

Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 years. Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and six deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to three of these deaths, and it is unclear whether it contributed to an additional two deaths. The sixth death was unrelated to listeriosis.

Illnesses that started after Dec. 14, 2014, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Outlets selling the apples included Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods in MN, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples, and Safeway, Walmart and Sam’s Club in a number of states.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified 2 cases of Listeriosis in Canada with the same PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) patterns as seen in the U.S. outbreak. PHAC is working with its provincial and territorial partners to determine the source of these illnesses. CDC and and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working with Canadian health authorities to determine whether these illnesses are related to the U.S. outbreak.

The information CDC reported at this time continues to indicate that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness. In interviews, ill people answered questions about foods consumed and other exposures in the month before becoming ill.

To date, 23 (88 percent) 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 Apple, Carnival, and Merb’s Candies. However, the investigation is ongoing, and other brands may be identified. At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged, or to caramel candy.

So far, three firms that produce caramel apples have issued voluntary recalls after receiving notice from Bidart Brothers, a CA apple supplier, that there may be a connection between Bidart Brothers apples and this Listeriosis outbreak. On Dec. 24, 2014, Happy Apple Company of Washington, MO, voluntarily recalled Happy Apple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23, 2014.

On Dec. 27, 2014, California Snack Foods voluntarily recalled Karm’l Dapple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 15 and Nov. 28, 2014. On Dec. 29, 2014, Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, MO, issued a voluntary recall of Merb’s Candies Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples that would have been available between Sept. 8 and Nov. 25, 2014.

In addition, Pacific Coast Fruit of Portland, OR, announced that it was recalling all Happy Apple brand apples it sold after Sept. 22, 2014, because they came from Bidart Brothers. The company noted in an online statement that it was contacting its customers as part of the recall.

Meanwhile, CDC and other state and federal investigators are continuing to work to identify if any other brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

Although voluntary recalls have been issued for three brands of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, CDC’s Advice to Consumers remains the same. CDC continues to recommend that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.

These products could have a shelf life of more than one month. CDC, the involved states, and FDA continue to work closely on this rapidly evolving investigation, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.

Food Safety News

CDC Update: 32 Listeria Illnesses in 11 States, 2 in Canada Linked to Caramel Apples

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) again updated information regarding the multi-state Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to caramel apples. As of Dec. 30, there were 32 illnesses reported in 11 states, including 31 hospitalizations and six deaths.

According to CDC, Listeriosis contributed to three of the deaths reported to date, but it is not clear whether it contributed to another two. The sixth death was unrelated to Listeriosis, CDC stated.

The new cases were reported from CA (one more, for a total of two), NM (one more, for a total of six), and one in NV (which previously had not had any cases reported). The rest are in Arizona (4), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

CDC reports that the dates when the Listeria strains were isolated range from Oct. 17, 2014, to Dec. 11, 2014. Ten illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (the illness occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). One fetal loss has been reported.

Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 66 years, and 32 percent were female, CDC reported.

Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 years. Thirty-one ill people have been hospitalized, and six deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to three of these deaths, and it is unclear whether it contributed to an additional two deaths. The sixth death was unrelated to listeriosis.

Illnesses that started after Dec. 14, 2014, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Outlets selling the apples included Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods in MN, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples, and Safeway, Walmart and Sam’s Club in a number of states.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified 2 cases of Listeriosis in Canada with the same PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis) patterns as seen in the U.S. outbreak. PHAC is working with its provincial and territorial partners to determine the source of these illnesses. CDC and and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working with Canadian health authorities to determine whether these illnesses are related to the U.S. outbreak.

The information CDC reported at this time continues to indicate that commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be contaminated with Listeria. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness. In interviews, ill people answered questions about foods consumed and other exposures in the month before becoming ill.

To date, 23 (88 percent) 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 Apple, Carnival, and Merb’s Candies. However, the investigation is ongoing, and other brands may be identified. At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged, or to caramel candy.

So far, three firms that produce caramel apples have issued voluntary recalls after receiving notice from Bidart Brothers, a CA apple supplier, that there may be a connection between Bidart Brothers apples and this Listeriosis outbreak. On Dec. 24, 2014, Happy Apple Company of Washington, MO, voluntarily recalled Happy Apple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23, 2014.

On Dec. 27, 2014, California Snack Foods voluntarily recalled Karm’l Dapple brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 15 and Nov. 28, 2014. On Dec. 29, 2014, Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, MO, issued a voluntary recall of Merb’s Candies Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples that would have been available between Sept. 8 and Nov. 25, 2014.

In addition, Pacific Coast Fruit of Portland, OR, announced that it was recalling all Happy Apple brand apples it sold after Sept. 22, 2014, because they came from Bidart Brothers. The company noted in an online statement that it was contacting its customers as part of the recall.

Meanwhile, CDC and other state and federal investigators are continuing to work to identify if any other brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

Although voluntary recalls have been issued for three brands of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, CDC’s Advice to Consumers remains the same. CDC continues to recommend that U.S. consumers not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.

These products could have a shelf life of more than one month. CDC, the involved states, and FDA continue to work closely on this rapidly evolving investigation, and new information will be provided as it becomes available.

Food Safety News

Merb’s Candies Recalls Caramel Apples for Potential Listeria Risk

Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, MO, is recalling its Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The company’s Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples were available for retail sales at St. Louis area locations, through local supermarkets (located in the produce section), and through mail orders nationwide.

The product is individually packaged in a clear burgundy-and-gold cellophane bag and would have been available from Sept. 8 through Nov. 25, 2014. No identifying lot codes were used.

Merb’s Candies has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis, which has been associated with caramel apples.

Bidart Brothers of Shafter, CA, which is one of Merb’s Candies apple suppliers, has initiated a recall as there may be a connection between this outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes and apples supplied to Merb’s Candies.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted 29 illnesses in 10 states linked to the outbreak, and the agency has advised consumers not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples until more is known.

Production of Merb’s Candies’ caramel apples ceased as of Nov. 23 2014, and the caramel apples produced are no longer available for purchase. However, the company recommends that any consumers who are still in possession of caramel apples follow CDC’s advice and dispose of the product in a secure container to avoid potential contamination to animals.

Consumers who have any of the recalled product may return it to the store where purchased or dispose of it per the advice of the CDC. Consumers with questions may email the firm at [email protected] or call (314) 832-7206 during normal business hours Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

Listeria 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.

Food Safety News

California Snack Foods Recalls Caramel Apples for Potential Listeria Risk

California Snack Foods Inc. of South El Monte, CA, is issuing a voluntary recall of California Snack Foods brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 15 and Nov. 28, 2014, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

California Snack Foods caramel apples are sold in single packs and three 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: Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

Company officials have been working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis, which has been associated with caramel apples. California Snack Foods recently received notice from Bidart Brothers of Shafter, CA, one of its apple suppliers, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to the company’s facility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted 29 illnesses in 10 states linked to the outbreak, and the agency has advised consumers not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples until more is known.

California Snack Foods officials said they used the last of the Bidart Brothers apples in the first week of November 2014, and that the caramel apples produced with Bidart Brothers apples should no longer be available in stores. However, the company recommends that consumers follow the advice of CDC and remove any caramel apples in storage and dispose of them in a secure container to avoid potential contamination in animals.

Consumers who have any product may return it to the store where purchased or dispose of it per the advice of CDC. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-966-5501, Monday through Friday during normal business hours, or via email to [email protected]

Listeria 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.

Food Safety News

Happy Apple Brand Caramel Apples Recalled for Possible Listeria Risk

Happy Apple Company of Washington, MO, has issued a voluntary recall of Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23, 2014, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

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.

The apples 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 and Wisconsin.

The company has been working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis, which has been associated with caramel apples. Happy Apple recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of its apple suppliers to the company’s California facility, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples supplied to that facility.

As has been reported in the news, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has noted 29 illnesses in 10 states linked to the outbreak, and the agency has advised consumers not to eat commercially produced, pre-packaged caramel apples until more is known.

Happy Apple ceased operations at the end of October as part of its normal, seasonal shutdown, and the caramel apples produced are no longer available in stores. However, the company is recommending that consumers follow the advice of CDC and remove any caramel apples in storage and dispose of them in a secure container to avoid potential contamination in animals.

Consumers who have any of the product may return it to the store where purchased or dispose of it per the advice of the CDC. Consumers with questions may contact Happy Apple at 800-527-7532, Monday through Friday during normal business hours, or via email to [email protected].

Listeria 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.

Food Safety News

2 Listeria Illnesses Prompt Warning in Canada About Caramel Apples

Two people in Canada have tested positive for the same strain of Listeria monocytogenes that has killed five people and sickened 29 in the U.S. and been linked to caramel apples.

The situation prompted a warning on Tuesday from the Public Health Agency of Canada that potentially contaminated caramel apples may have been imported to Canada.

The cases have occurred in Ontario and Manitoba. Investigators in Canada are still working to determine if the illnesses resulted from consumption of store-bought, prepackaged caramel apples, as they apparently did in the U.S. cases.

“As a precaution, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising that Canadians do not eat commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples imported from the US until further notice,” the warning reads.

The warning is for plain caramel apples, as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings.

Canadian officials say they’re working closely with U.S. counterparts to determine if any potentially contaminated products were distributed in Canada.

Based on current information, the risk of infection to Canadians is low, they said.

Food Safety News

APHIS to talk apples with China

APHIS to talk apples with China

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is ramping up talks with China, the world’s largest producer of apples, to allow both countries to ship more of the produce item across borders, but the U.S. apple industry is happy about it, reports Pro Agriculture’s Bill Tomson this morning.

APHIS officials confirmed Monday that they are preparing to meet with officials from China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), in San Francisco, in January. The conversation will likely expand on an agreement reached between APHIS and AQSIQ , in October, which reopened China to red and golden delicious apples from Washington state.

China produced about 33 million metric tons of apples in 2010 — roughly half of the world’s supply — while the United States was a distant second, producing about 4.2 million metric tons, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data.  But China is a much bigger consumer of apples than exporter, according to the USDA, and the country will likely ship mostly Fuji apples to the United States, which will not add up to much — about 10,000 tons per year. The U.S., meanwhile, is the world’s largest exporter of fresh apples.

Source: politico.com

Publication date: 12/24/2014


FreshPlaza.com

First Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

The first wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in California against Safeway Inc. over those commercially produced and prepackaged caramel apples now the subject of a 10-state Listeria outbreak responsible for five deaths so far.

The wrongful death action naming Safeway Inc. as the defendant was filed by James Raymond Frey on behalf of his late wife, Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, and her estate. The lawsuit claims she was a victim of the deadly outbreak. She and Mr. Frey, 87, were both longtime residents of California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the 10-state outbreak of a genetically indistinguishable strain of the Listeria pathogen had infected 29 people as of Monday, Dec. 22, and all have required hospitalization.

States with illnesses associated with the outbreak strain are: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1) Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

CDC’s investigation has found that the packaged caramel apples are the mostly likely source of the Listeria contamination. The agency reports that state and local health officials who have interviewed 18 of the sickened individuals say 83 percent remembered eating the suspect caramel apples.

The investigation is not over. “At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy,” states the complaint filed Monday in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County.

Lawyers for Mr. Frey also stated in the complaint that CDC is working to identify specific brands that produced and packaged the caramel apples.

In the meantime, attorneys Harry Stern of San Francisco’s Rains Lucia Stern and William D. Marler of Marler Clark, the national food-safety law firm based in Seattle, say that CDC has warned the public not to eat any caramel apples. This warning extends to plain caramel apples and those with nuts or other toppings. (Marler Clark also underwrites Food Safety News.)

The wrongful death lawsuit seeks a jury trial for unspecified financial damages plus attorneys’ fees. Among its causes of action is a claim of “strict liability” that a Safeway ready-to-eat product tainted with the bacteria was sold to a customer. “Strict liability” means that a company is responsible whether or not it knew about the problem.

Meanwhile, it was reported Monday that Safeway had removed the caramel apples from its shelves.

“We are aware of the issue regarding caramel apples and have proactively removed the product from sale in our stores,” said Brian Dowling, the company’s vice president of public affairs, adding, “However, we are currently not aware of any illness tied to items purchased at our stores.”

Listeria is one of the more deadly pathogens. The last Listeria outbreak causing multiple deaths came three years ago when Colorado-grown cantaloupe was contaminated with the bacteria, causing three dozen deaths. The so-called “opportunistic pathogen” is a significant danger to the elderly, pregnant woman, and others with compromised immune systems.

Food Safety News

First Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

The first wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in California against Safeway Inc. over those commercially produced and prepackaged caramel apples now the subject of a 10-state Listeria outbreak responsible for five deaths so far.

The wrongful death action naming Safeway Inc. as the defendant was filed by James Raymond Frey on behalf of his late wife, Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, and her estate. The lawsuit claims she was a victim of the deadly outbreak. She and Mr. Frey, 87, were both longtime residents of California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the 10-state outbreak of a genetically indistinguishable strain of the Listeria pathogen had infected 29 people as of Monday, Dec. 22, and all have required hospitalization.

States with illnesses associated with the outbreak strain are: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1) Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3).

CDC’s investigation has found that the packaged caramel apples are the mostly likely source of the Listeria contamination. The agency reports that state and local health officials who have interviewed 18 of the sickened individuals say 83 percent remembered eating the suspect caramel apples.

The investigation is not over. “At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy,” states the complaint filed Monday in California Superior Court in Santa Clara County.

Lawyers for Mr. Frey also stated in the complaint that CDC is working to identify specific brands that produced and packaged the caramel apples.

In the meantime, attorneys Harry Stern of San Francisco’s Rains Lucia Stern and William D. Marler of Marler Clark, the national food-safety law firm based in Seattle, say that CDC has warned the public not to eat any caramel apples. This warning extends to plain caramel apples and those with nuts or other toppings. (Marler Clark also underwrites Food Safety News.)

The wrongful death lawsuit seeks a jury trial for unspecified financial damages plus attorneys’ fees. Among its causes of action is a claim of “strict liability” that a Safeway ready-to-eat product tainted with the bacteria was sold to a customer. “Strict liability” means that a company is responsible whether or not it knew about the problem.

Meanwhile, it was reported Monday that Safeway had removed the caramel apples from its shelves.

“We are aware of the issue regarding caramel apples and have proactively removed the product from sale in our stores,” said Brian Dowling, the company’s vice president of public affairs, adding, “However, we are currently not aware of any illness tied to items purchased at our stores.”

Listeria is one of the more deadly pathogens. The last Listeria outbreak causing multiple deaths came three years ago when Colorado-grown cantaloupe was contaminated with the bacteria, causing three dozen deaths. The so-called “opportunistic pathogen” is a significant danger to the elderly, pregnant woman, and others with compromised immune systems.

Food Safety News

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples Catches Experts by Surprise

Foodborne illness investigators know to expect a bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes on just about any food product. But even so, caramel apples were not on anyone’s radar when it became clear they were linked to a Listeria outbreak that has been associated with five deaths and at least 28 illnesses in 10 states.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first learned of a cluster of related Listeria illnesses in November, but it took until this week for a multi-state public health investigation to determine that the likely source of the infections was caramel apples distributed under at least two brand names.

So far, Food Safety News has learned few details about the patients who have died in the outbreak; however, CDC Epidemiologist Brendan Jackson confirmed that none were children.

Nine of the 28 reported illnesses occurred in pregnant women, although none of those resulted in the loss of the child.

While four of the five deaths were directly caused by Listeria, the fifth occurred in someone who was immunocompromised and already suffering from other life-threatening conditions.

Part of the challenge with this outbreak investigation has been the relatively long incubation time for Listeria to cause symptoms of illness, said an epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health. Though the first illnesses began in mid-October, health investigators have only recently been aware of the full extent of the outbreak.

The discovery of caramel apples as the likely cause came even later, the epidemiologist added. One patient happened to mention eating a caramel apple, and so an investigator asked another patient, who also happened to have eaten one.

To date, 15 of 18 patients interviewed have confirmed they ate prepackaged caramel apples prior to falling ill — a very statistically significant proportion given the relatively small subset of caramel-apple consumers within the general population.

Investigators are still working to determine exactly how the caramel apples might have become contaminated, considering that the outbreak has not been associated with any non-caramel apples.

As of Friday night, no recalls have been announced, and authorities are not ready to name all of the brand names involved. Based on information from the Minnesota Department of Health, the only known related brands are Carnival and Kitchen Cravings.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, implicated caramel apples were sold in supermarkets in single or 3-pack plastic clamshell packages.

CDC is recommending that the public not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples at this time.

Food Safety News reporter Lydia Zuraw contributed to this report.

Food Safety News

Collaboration brings red flesh apples

Redmoon® Surprise
Collaboration brings red flesh apples

Redmoon® Surprise is a new brand for a series of red flesh apples. The brand is born out of the collaboration between French Escande and KIKU Variety Management from the Braun brothers, known for the global brand KIKU. “KIKU is one of the best addresses globally for the management of varieties and trademarks,” explains Benoit Escande.


Thomas Braun, Benoit Escande, Hans Scholten and Jürgen Braun present the new brand Redmoon® Surprise at Interpoma 2014.

“Wth KIKU®, but also with other brands such as the snack apple ISAAQ® and Crimson Snow®, the Brauns have proven to be professional and capable in introducing global novelties which benefit both the producer and consumer. It is all about high quality products with a great eating experience.”

“Quality,” explain the Brauns, “is our credo: we want to shock the consumer (in a positive way) and create new consumption, which only works with the highest quality. The series of Red Moon® red flesh apples, is really of high quality: some varieties are perfect for processing, i.e. juice and chips. Some are also good for fresh consumption. All of them have a very nice storage characteristics which helps them last until spring.”

“The key to success is to have a top product, and the other side is promotion. With red flesh apples you are coming to the market with an unique product, and you need to explain. That´s why we invented SURPRISE, in fact I get the surprise of the red flesh once I bite into the fruit.”

The group plans to conduct more trials throughout Europe, in order to understand the potential in different micro climates. The Brauns will plant some hectares in spring 2015 in their own farm. “The processing industry is very interested, the red flesh opens new possibilities for marketing, also because ingredients of those apples are very healthy. From autumn 2015 on we are able to deliver first fruit and fulfill contracts. Additionally our farm will show, on a large scale, how the varieties perform. We want attract new producers and sign new contracts, for both processing and fresh consumption.”

For more information:
Dr. Jürgen Braun
KIKU G.m.b.H.
Tel: +39 0471 660 640
Fax: +39 0471 660 190
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 12/19/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Collaboration brings red flesh apples

Redmoon® Surprise
Collaboration brings red flesh apples

Redmoon® Surprise is a new brand for a series of red flesh apples. The brand is born out of the collaboration between French Escande and KIKU Variety Management from the Braun brothers, known for the global brand KIKU. “KIKU is one of the best addresses globally for the management of varieties and trademarks,” explains Benoit Escande.


Thomas Braun, Benoit Escande, Hans Scholten and Jürgen Braun present the new brand Redmoon® Surprise at Interpoma 2014.

“Wth KIKU®, but also with other brands such as the snack apple ISAAQ® and Crimson Snow®, the Brauns have proven to be professional and capable in introducing global novelties which benefit both the producer and consumer. It is all about high quality products with a great eating experience.”

“Quality,” explain the Brauns, “is our credo: we want to shock the consumer (in a positive way) and create new consumption, which only works with the highest quality. The series of Red Moon® red flesh apples, is really of high quality: some varieties are perfect for processing, i.e. juice and chips. Some are also good for fresh consumption. All of them have a very nice storage characteristics which helps them last until spring.”

“The key to success is to have a top product, and the other side is promotion. With red flesh apples you are coming to the market with an unique product, and you need to explain. That´s why we invented SURPRISE, in fact I get the surprise of the red flesh once I bite into the fruit.”

The group plans to conduct more trials throughout Europe, in order to understand the potential in different micro climates. The Brauns will plant some hectares in spring 2015 in their own farm. “The processing industry is very interested, the red flesh opens new possibilities for marketing, also because ingredients of those apples are very healthy. From autumn 2015 on we are able to deliver first fruit and fulfill contracts. Additionally our farm will show, on a large scale, how the varieties perform. We want attract new producers and sign new contracts, for both processing and fresh consumption.”

For more information:
Dr. Jürgen Braun
KIKU G.m.b.H.
Tel: +39 0471 660 640
Fax: +39 0471 660 190
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 12/19/2014


FreshPlaza.com

CDC: 5 Deaths, 28 Illnesses in Multi-State Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s outbreak report posted Friday, a total of 28 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes and five deaths have been reported in connection with commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples.

The 28 ill people included in this outbreak investigation have been reported from 10 states: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2). Illness onset dates range from Oct. 17, 2014, to Nov. 27, 2014.

Nine illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). No miscarriages or fetal losses have been reported.

Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 64 years, and 32 percent were female. Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 years.

Of the 26 ill persons for whom information is available, all have been hospitalized, and five deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least four of these deaths.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate. To date, 15 of the 18 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.

Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.

Although caramel apples are often a fall seasonal product, contaminated commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may still be for sale at grocery stores and other retailers nationwide or may be in consumers’ homes.

Investigators are working quickly to determine specific brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

The Minnesota cases purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples. These two brands are no longer available for purchase at retail locations; however, health officials are concerned that persons who purchased them may still have them in their homes.

At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy.

The outbreak can be visually described with an epidemic curve showing the number of persons who were diagnosed each day. Illnesses that started after Dec. 3, 2014, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Food Safety News

CDC: 5 Deaths, 28 Illnesses in Multi-State Listeria Outbreak Linked to Caramel Apples

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s outbreak report posted Friday, a total of 28 people infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes and five deaths have been reported in connection with commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples.

The 28 ill people included in this outbreak investigation have been reported from 10 states: Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (2). Illness onset dates range from Oct. 17, 2014, to Nov. 27, 2014.

Nine illnesses have been associated with a pregnancy (occurred in a pregnant woman or her newborn infant). No miscarriages or fetal losses have been reported.

Among people whose illnesses were not associated with a pregnancy, ages ranged from 7 to 92 years, with a median age of 64 years, and 32 percent were female. Three invasive illnesses (meningitis) occurred among otherwise healthy children aged 5-15 years.

Of the 26 ill persons for whom information is available, all have been hospitalized, and five deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to at least four of these deaths.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate. To date, 15 of the 18 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before becoming ill.

Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends that U.S. consumers do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.

Although caramel apples are often a fall seasonal product, contaminated commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may still be for sale at grocery stores and other retailers nationwide or may be in consumers’ homes.

Investigators are working quickly to determine specific brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples that may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination.

The Minnesota cases purchased caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried Carnival brand and Kitchen Cravings brand caramel apples. These two brands are no longer available for purchase at retail locations; however, health officials are concerned that persons who purchased them may still have them in their homes.

At this time, no illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged or to caramel candy.

The outbreak can be visually described with an epidemic curve showing the number of persons who were diagnosed each day. Illnesses that started after Dec. 3, 2014, might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Food Safety News

Mexico launches anti-dumping probe on U.S. apples

WASHINGTON — Mexico’s Economy Secretariat has launched an anti-dumping investigation on U.S. apples in response to a petition filed by fruit growers alleging U.S. apples entered the Mexican market at below fair market rate, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA’s notice says Mexico initiated the antidumping duty investigation on Dec. 4 on U.S. fresh apples shipped from January to December 2013.

The latest action is in response to a petition filed by a regional producer association, the Unión Agrícola Regional de Fruticultores del Estado de Chihuahua, or UNIFRUT. The state of Chihuahua is the largest producer of apples in Mexico.

Interested parties have until Jan. 16, 2015 to submit responses or arguments for consideration by Economía’s Unidad de Prácticas Comerciales Internacionales.

In the meantime, U.S. apple exports are expected to increase this year by 4 percent to 875,000 tons, primarily on rising shipments to Mexico, said a USDA report released this month on the world apple market.

However, USDA said Mexico’s apple production is forecast to drop 22 percent to 670,000 tons, while imports are expected to increase 15 percent to 260,000 tons.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Del Monte Recalls Fresh-Cut Fruit Products With Gala Red Apples for Potential Listeria Contamination

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (“Del Monte Fresh”) announced Wednesday the voluntary recall of fresh-cut fruit products containing Gala red apples grown in Pennsylvania.

The affected products were distributed to a limited number of customers in a few states in the northeast U.S. and are being recalled because these apples have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The fresh-cut red apples have a red-colored skin. The recalled fresh-cut fruit packages containing red apples were distributed for sale in clear plastic containers with one of the following labels and markings:

Finished Product Descriptor Package size/Weight BIUB Retailer Brand/Label  Lot Number Product Quantities
Red/Green Apples W/Dip 9 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 50
Gala Apples 12 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 20
Apple W/Dip 24 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 62
Apple Tray W/Dip 24 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 6
Red/Green Apples W/Dip 5 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 8
Red Apple Slices 12 oz 12/7/2014 Amazon Del Monte 2332101 6
Red/Green Apples W/Dip 5 oz 12/7/2014 Amazon Del Monte 2332101 6
Pineapple Medley 16 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 156
Pineapple Medley 8 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 114
Apples/Grapes/Cheese 7 oz 12/6/2014 Sunoco Nature Made 2332101 96
Gala Apples 12 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 2
Gourmet Bowl 64 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 4
Pineapple Medley 16 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Del Monte 2332101 6
Pineapple Medley 8 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Del Monte 2332101 4
Snack Pack 7 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 14
Apples/Grapes/Cheese 7 oz 12/6/2014 Peters Nature Made 2332101 108
Red Apple With Caramel 5 oz 12/8/2014 Peters Del Monte 2332101 60
Gourmet Bowl 40 oz 12/6/2014 Amazon Del Monte 2332101 3
Red Apples/Grapes/ Cheese/Dip 7 oz 12/6/2014 Amazon Nature Made 2332101 6
Gourmet Bowl 64 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 120
Pineapple Medley 32 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 128
Apple Cinnamon Yogurt 6.5 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 44
Gourmet Fruit Bowl 4 Lbs 12/3/2014 Wegmans Wegmans 2332101 78
Gourmet Fruit Bowl 4 Lbs 12/3/2014 Wegmans Wegmans 2332101 50
Red Apple Gala 12 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 142
Red and Green Apple With Dip 24 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 56
Apple with Dip 24 oz 12/8/2014 Giant Eagle Plain Transparent Label 2332101 14
Gourmet Bowl 64 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 60
Pineapple Medley 32 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 80
Pineapple Medley 16 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 4
Pineapple Medley 8 oz 12/6/2014 Giant Eagle Farmer’s Market – Giant Eagle 2332101 140
Red Apple With Cheese 5 oz 12/6/2014 Sheetz Sheetz M-T-O 2332101 48
Apples/Carrots/ Cheese with Dip 7 oz 12/8/2014 Sheetz Sheetz M-T-O 2332101 156
Harvest Blend 4 oz 12/6/2014 7-Eleven 7-Eleven 2332101 1200

The voluntary recall of the fresh-cut fruit products containing red apples is being implemented as a result of a random test by the Division of Food Safety of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and FDA was advised on Dec. 9, 2014. Although no illnesses have been reported to date, Del Monte Fresh voluntarily decided to recall the potentially affected lot.

Consumers who believe that they are in possession of the fresh-cut fruit products containing the affected red apples should dispose of the products in an appropriate waste container. For any inquiries, consumers may call 1-800-659-6500 (operating 24 hours a day) or email Del Monte Fresh at [email protected].

Listeriosis symptoms may include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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.

Food Safety News

South Africa: First apples to China in January

South Africa: First apples to China in January

Last week Hortgro announced that South African apples would gain entry to the Chinese market, the authorities on both sides are just finalising the list of certified producers and packhouses and carrying out inspections.

Any grower in South Africa is free to send apples to China as long as they have registered and have the correct certifications.

Jacques du Preez from Hortgro said, all going well, the first shipments will start in January 2015, in line with the export season for South African apples, “As with any new market, we will most likely start off slowly and build up the volumes.” 

The varieties being shipped will most likely be Royal Gala, Fuji and Granny Smiths. Du Preez said that China would not be an easy market as they already produce huge volumes of apples domestically.

He hopes that now that everything is in place China will soon be open to pears as well, “Most of the growers who are already registered for apples also produce pears.”

As for volumes, South Africa should see a normal production this year after an off year last season. “We will most likely send a bit less to Europe due to the abundance on the market already because of high European production and the Russian ban, but the volumes to the UK should be back to normal after being down last season due to Chile’s abundance of small fruit.”

“Africa is also a growing market so we will send more there too.” Russia is also open to South African exporters but Du Preez does not expect exports there to significantly increase.

For more information:
Jacques du Preez
HORTGRO
Eamil: [email protected]
Tel: +27 82 864 8149

Publication date: 12/9/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Freshline Foods to offer sliced Honeycrisp apples

Freshline Foods, a leading processor of fresh cut, value-added fruits and vegetables, announced that it will expand its fresh-cut apple product offerings with the launch of new Honeycrisp apple slices.honeycrisp-apple-package

Honeycrisp apples have grown in popularity over the past couple years and are prized for their sweet taste, distinct juiciness and exceptional crunch. The inclusion of this apple variety was a natural extension to Freshline Foods’ popular line of sliced apples and will satisfy consumers’ demand for this premium product with the added benefit of convenience.

The Honeycrisp apple slices will be offered in a user-friendly 400-gram (14-ounce) package. The product is slated for North American distribution starting in January.

“Working together with Bamford Family Farms, a sister company to Freshline Foods located in Thornbury, Ontario, we have devoted new acreage to growing Honeycrisp apples,” Noel Brigido, vice president of Mississauga, ON-based Freshline Foods, said in a press release. “During the season, Freshline Foods will utilize the supply of locally grown Honeycrisp, before moving to other regions during the year.

“We anticipate that this new and exciting product will allow retailers to attract new consumers to the value-added category, as well as allow them to provide an expanded offering to regular customers,” Brigido added in the press release.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.