The Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri, issued a voluntary recall of Happy Apple Brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 25th and November 23rd 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. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section and were distributed to retailers in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin.
Happy Apples says they have been working with the Food and Drug Administration in their investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis which has been associated with caramel apples. We recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, 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.
According to the CDC, as of December 22, 2014, 29 people in 10 states have been reported as being infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes. The CDC reports that all 29 ill people have been hospitalized. Five deaths have been reported. Listeriosis contributed to three of these deaths and it is unclear whether it contributed to a fourth. The fifth death was unrelated to listeriosis. Nine illnesses were pregnancy-related.
The CDC reports that 20 of the 23 ill people interviewed reported eating commercially-produced, prepackaged caramel apples. No illnesses related to this outbreak have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and are not prepackaged and no illnesses have been linked to caramel candy.
Out of an abundance of caution, CDC recommends 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.