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Giant recalls Own Brands 3 bean salad because of Listeria

My Giant Food Stores logoGiant Food Stores Inc. is recalling store branded 3 bean salad because an unnamed ingredient from an unnamed supplier may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The salad may have been sold in bulk or in 1-pound prepackaged containers from service deli cases and/or from “Grab 7 Go” deli cases in Giants and Martin’s stores, according to the recall notice on the Giant website.

The recall notice on the Giant website does not include product photos or details about distribution. The retailer is offering consumers full refunds when they return the recalled salad to stores.

Identifying information for the recalled “Own Brands 3 Bean Salad” includes:

  • OB 3 Bean Salad BULK – 1 LB; UPC 23700600000; Codes: ALL CODE DATES
  • OB 3 Bean Salad PREPACK – 1 LB; UPC 23657100000;  Codes: ALL CODE DATES

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Food Safety News

Agave Dream cappuccino ice cream recalled for Listeria risk

Agave Dream ice creamAgave Dream of Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA, is recalling 389 cases of its cappuccino ice cream because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The company stated that the recalled item was distributed nationally through retail stores receiving product from KeHE Distributors’ Romeoville, IL, warehouse, DPI Northwest; Americold in Los Angeles; IWI’s Franklin, IN, warehouse, and Haddon House, Richburg, SC.

The recalled product consists of pints of Agave Dream cappuccino ice cream packed in brown paper, 1-pint containers with “Agave Dream” printed on the front of the carton and with a best-by date of 07/04/17 and a UPC number of 899349002048.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall is the result of a routine sampling by the state of Washington, which revealed that the finished products contained Listeria bacteria. The company has ceased production and distribution of the product while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the company continue their investigation into what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased Agave Dream cappuccino ice cream with a best-by date 07/04/17 are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 866-993-4438 or by sending email to [email protected].

Listeria is a microscopic organism that 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.

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Food Safety News

CDC closes investigation; warns of ongoing Listeria threat

The investigation into a Listeriosis outbreak traced to frozen vegetables from CRF Frozen Foods Inc. has ended — but federal officials warn more people could still be stricken by the potentially deadly Listeria monocytogenes pathogen.

logo-CRF-Frozen-Foods“People could continue to get sick because recalled products may still be freezers and people who don’t know about the recalls could eat them,” according to an outbreak update posted this afternoon by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

“Retailers should not sell and consumers should not eat recalled products.”

Those “recalled products” include more than 350 frozen products packaged by CRF Frozen Foods Inc. under 42 brands, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Recalled products were sold across the U.S. and Canada.

“The FDA facilitated the recall of at least 456 products related to this outbreak. CRF Frozen Foods recalled 358 products and at least 98 other products were recalled by other firms that received CRF-recalled products,” according to FDA.

A complete list of the recalls linked to CRF Frozen Foods’ recall is available on the FDA website.

Production plant remains closed
CRF owners closed the Pasco, WA, plant where the food was produced after issuing recalls on April 23 and May 2. The first recall was for 11 frozen vegetable products. The second was for all organic and traditional frozen vegetable and fruit products processed at the facility from May 1, 2014, through this spring.

Today an external public relations consultant hired by CRF said the company’s owners will take their time reopening the facility. He said CRF’s business is seasonal, based on crop harvests, and with the end of summer nearing it wouldn’t make any difference if they reopened in a few weeks or a few months.

A variety of Kroger-branded frozen vegetable products are included in the recall.

A variety of Kroger-branded frozen vegetable products are included in the recall.

“The company executives are spending a good bit of time and effort focused on a new design of the plant, to ensure the company has state of the art equipment and processes, once operations resume,” said spokesman Gene Grabowski.

Officials with the privately held CRF, which is part of the R.D. Offutt Co., were pleased that the outbreak investigation was declared ended, Grabowski said this afternoon, adding that they would “continue to proceed with redoubled vigilance to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again.”

Although CRF knows how much product it shipped, its officials did not reveal those volumes in its recall notices.

“The company has no estimate of product recalled or destroyed,” Grabovski said. “Much of the recalled product has been managed by retailers, so no complete records are available.”

The victims and how they were discovered
The outbreak includes at least nine people from four states on opposite sides of the U.S. They were sickened with a strain of Listeria monocytogenes that Ohio officials coincidentally discovered in CRF frozen products while conducting routine testing of randomly collected packages of frozen foods from retail stores.

All nine people were so sick they had to be hospitalized. Three of them died, but state public health officials reported to the CDC that only one of the deaths was specifically caused by the Listeria infection.

The first known victim became sick in September of 2013. Five victims fell ill in 2015 and three were confirmed with the outbreak strain this year. The most recent case was May 3, according to the CDC.

recalled-Organic-by-Nature-frozen-peasCDC scientists detected the outbreak in March this year and linked it to frozen food from CRF’s Pasco plant using a combination of high-tech DNA testing and the oldest medical technique on the books — patient interviews.

“State and local health departments attempted to interview the ill people, a family member, or a caregiver for the ill person about the foods the ill person may have eaten in the month before the illness began,” CDC reported.

Officials were able to interview four people, three of whom reported that before they became sick they ate frozen vegetables that turned out to have been produced at the CRF Pasco plant.

“Two reported Organic by Nature brand frozen vegetables. The third ill person reported eating O Organic brand frozen vegetables,” CDC reported.

While the CDC investigators were trying to find a common denominator among the Listeria victims, staff with the Ohio Department of Agriculture were conducting routine, random product sampling of frozen vegetables from grocery stores.

The Ohio tests revealed Listeria monocytogenes in frozen organic white sweet corn and frozen organic green peas packaged under Meijer’s True Goodness brand. Both products were produced by CRF at the Pasco facility.

“Whole genome sequencing showed that the Listeria isolate from the frozen corn was closely related genetically to eight bacterial isolates from (the) ill people, and the Listeria isolate from the frozen peas was closely related genetically to one isolate from (one) ill person,” the CDC reported.

Public health investigators used the PulseNet system to compare and ultimately match the Listeria monocytogenes samples from the outbreak victims and the randomly tested frozen vegetables. PulseNet is a national sub typing network of public health labs and includes a national database of DNA fingerprints of foodborne pathogen strains.

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Food Safety News

Full Tilt Recalls Most 2014 Dairy-Based Ice Cream Flavors for Listeria Risk

Full Tilt Ice Cream of Seattle is recalling all dairy-based ice-cream flavors (except non-dairy frozen desserts) sold under the Full Tilt brand and produced between Jan. 1 and Dec. 19, 2014, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The Full Tilt dairy-based ice-cream products were distributed in Oregon and Washington through grocery stores and retail scoop shops.

The ice cream was sold in 16-oz. paper containers with a 7-digit code ending in 14x (e.g., 0219142), as well as 1.5-gallon and 3-gallon plastic gallon tubs produced before 12/19/2014. The following table summarizes the affected products:

Name of product size production dates type of packaging
Full Tilt Ice Cream 16-oz. containers 01/01/2014-12/19/2014 paper
Full Tilt Ice Cream 1.5-gallon containers 01/01/2014-12/19/2014 plastic gallon
Full Tilt Ice Cream 3-gallon containers 01/01/2014-12/19/2014 plastic gallon

No illnesses have been reported to date.

These dairy-based ice-cream products contain ice-cream base produced and recalled by Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream Inc. as an ingredient. Full Tilt has since performed a rigorous sanitation schedule to prevent further contamination.

This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Consumers who have purchased Full Tilt are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (206) 963-5038 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.

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

WA Ice Cream Company Recalls All 2014 Flavors Except One for Listeria Risk

Pink’s Ice Cream LLC of Seattle is recalling all ice-cream flavors produced in 2014 with the exception of Coconut Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Pink’s Ice Cream was distributed through grocery stores and restaurants around the Puget Sound area, including Uwajimaya and Metropolitan Market outlets.

The 16-oz. pints of ice cream are sold with a six-digit numerical product code on the bottom of the product. That six digit code will start with two numbers between 00**** and 52****.  The recall includes all codes within that range with the exclusion of 01**** and 41****. The table below summarizes the affected products.

Name of Product Flavors Size Production Date Type of Packaging
Pink’s Ice Cream Black Sesame, Durian, Green Tea, Mango, Red Bean, Spicy Ginger, Taro, Thai Tea 16 oz 1/1/14-12/21/14 Paper Carton
Pink’s Ice Cream Black Sesame, Durian, Green Tea, Mango, Red Bean, Spicy Ginger, Taro, Thai Tea 1.0 gal 1/1/14-12/21/14 Plastic Gallon

The recall is the result of contamination found at Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Pink’s dairy supplier. A routine sampling revealed traces of Listeria in the finished product and on nearby surfaces at the supplier’s plant. Pink’s Ice Cream has recalled all products made with potentially contaminated dairy ingredient, sterilized all production surfaces and equipment, and has begun sourcing dairy from an alternative source.

No illnesses related to the consumption of Pink’s Ice Cream products have been reported to date. This recall is being made with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Consumers who have purchased Pink’s Ice Cream, except the non-dairy Coconut, are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (206) 861-9098 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST).

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

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

Caramel Apple-Linked Listeria Outbreak and Recalls: What You Need to Know

On Dec. 19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to commercially produced and prepackaged caramel apples that has sickened — and hospitalized — at least 29 people in 10 states.

Until further notice, CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are advising consumers not to purchase or eat any commercially produced caramel apples whatsoever. That includes any caramel apples covered in nuts, candy or other toppings.

This outbreak has not been connected to any non-caramel apples. There are no current advisories or warnings against conventional apples.

While the CDC’s initial outbreak announcement did not include a comprehensive list of caramel apple brands implicated in the outbreak, a number of companies and brands have announced recalls or have been tied to the outbreak in the days following the first announcement.

One of the recalled brands, Happy Apple Company, said that one of its apple suppliers, Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield, CA, may have supplied apples connected to the outbreak.

Brands that have issued recalls:

In addition, CDC cited two more brands as being associated with the outbreak, but the companies have not issued recalls:

  • Carnival
  • Kitchen Cravings

Illnesses have occurred in the following states:

Arizona (4 illnesses), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), and Wisconsin (3)

A California man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against grocery retailer Safeway, claiming that a contaminated caramel apple sold at a local Safeway store sickened his wife and lead to her death. That man has been retained by foodborne illness law firm Marler Clark, which underwrites Food Safety News.

A number of retailers, including Safeway, have reported removing caramel apple products from store shelves.

Known illnesses began occurring in mid-October and were still appearing in late November. CDC has not declared an end to this outbreak, and it’s possible that more illnesses will be counted in the coming weeks.

The following are CDC graphics showing the geographical and temporal distributions of the outbreak:

Food Safety News

Listeria outbreak prompts caramel apple recall

Two companies have announced recalls for their caramel apples as a result of the current outbreak of Listeriosis. Both companies — California Snack Foods and Happy Apples — cited Bidart Bros. as one of their apple suppliers.

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

“We recently received notice from Bidart Bros., one of our apple suppliers to our California facility, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility,” California Snack Foods said in a press release.

California Snack Foods’ voluntary recall is of “California Snack Foods” brand caramel apples with a best-use-by date between Aug. 15 and Nov. 28. The product was 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 Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah.

The Happy Apples recall is for product with similar best-use-by dates: Aug. 25-Nov. 23. 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 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.

According to California Snack foods, the company used the last of the Bidart Bros. apples in the first week of November, and they should no longer be available in stores. Happy Apples ceased its operations at the end of October as part of the company’s normal, seasonal shut down, and the caramel apples produced are no longer available in stores.

“However, out of an abundance of caution and concern for consumer safety, we are recommending that consumers follow the advice of the CDC and remove any caramel apples you may have in storage and dispose of them in a secure container to avoid potential contamination in animals,” each company stated in a press release.

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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

MI Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese Recalled for Potential Listeria Risk

Farm Country Cheese House of Lakeview, MI, is recalling about 1,136 pounds of Raw Milk Cheddar because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The Raw Milk Cheddar was distributed in Michigan, specifically in the Grand Rapids and Detroit metro areas, through retail stores and specialty shops.

The Raw Milk Cheddar in question is packaged under two different labels. The first label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left-hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) will be written on top of the label. This product is sold as an 8-oz. block.

This product has a “Use By Date” on the back of the cheese. The dates are between Oct. 28, 2015, and Dec. 5, 2015. This label will also have a Julian Date in the lower right-hand corner. These Julian dates are as follows: 14301, 14302, 14308, 14309, 14324, 14325, 14332, 14336, and 14339.

The second label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left-hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) written in white over a light-blue banner. This label will have the “Use By Date” on the back; it will not have a Julian Date. The “Use By Date” dates are between Oct. 28, 2015, and Dec. 5, 2015. This product will be packaged in 8-oz. blocks and 5-lb. loafs.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. Farm Country Cheese House has ceased production and distribution of the product while FDA and the company continue their investigation into to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased Farm Country Cheese House Raw Milk Cheddar are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (989) 352-7779, or email to [email protected], Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

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

Ice Cream Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination

Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream, Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of all ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet for all flavors and container sizes produced on or after January 1, 2014 until December 15, 2014 because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The products are labeled Snoqualmie Ice Cream, Snoqualmie Gelato, Snoqualmie Custard, Snoqualmie Sorbet or Emerald & Spruce Ice Cream or Top Pot Hand Forged Ice Cream and have a production date code located on the bottom of the container.  The date codes included either end in “4”, e.g. XXX4 (pints and cups) or are listed by date: January 1, 2014 through December 15, 2014 (trays & tubs).

The ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet were distributed in Arizona, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Washington may have been further distributed and sold in various retail outlets in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

The recall was initiated based on the confirmation positive result of Listeria monocytogenes in the samples collected within the production facility and analyzed by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).  The company is working with the FDA and WSDA to investigate the root cause.

Customers who have purchased the affected product should dispose of it or return it to the place of purchase where they will receive a refund.

Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that 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

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

Soybean and Mungbean Sprouts Recalled in WA and OR for Listeria Risk

Kkot Saem Sprouts, Inc. of Spanaway, Washington is voluntarily recalling Soybean Sprouts and Mungbean Sprouts sold under brand names Kkot Saem, Winter Blossom Bean Sprouts, and Winter Blossom because the sprouts may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The products were distributed at H-Mart in Washington and Oregon, and G-Mart in Oregon.

The last date of distribution was December 16, 2014. The mungbean sprouts have a five-day shelf life from the packing date and soybean sprouts have a shelf life of up to two weeks from the packing date.

The recalled products are as follows:

The contamination was detected during routine testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

No illnesses have been reported in connection to the products. However, due to the time required to trace an illness back to a specific food product, it is impossible to say if any illnesses have occurred.

Customers who have purchased the recalled products are urged to return them to the place of purchase or discard them.

Product labels:

Front Label, Kkot Saem, Mung Bean Sprouts, 0.8 lb.

Front Label, Winter Blossom Bean Sprouts, Soy Bean Sprouts, 1.5 lbs.

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

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