Apple Recall Expanded to Include Gala, Granny Smith Applies Due to Listeria Risk

Following dozens of cases of listeria poisoning and at least seven deaths nationwide, a prior caramel apple recall has been expanded to include all Gala and Granny Smith Apples distributed by Bidart Bros. in the second half of 2014.

The apple recall expansion was announced by the FDA on January 9, impacting Bidart Bros. Gala and Granny Smith apples sold both with or without caramel and chocolate coatings.

The action was taken after additional testing by the FDA confirmed the listeria isolates collected from the Bidart plant were indistinguishable from the strains collected from infected consumers.

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On December 19, the FDA issued a nationwide warning to consumers to avoid eating commercially produced caramel apples after receiving multiple reported listeria infections.

A collaborative investigation by state and federal health officials was able to pinpoint the caramel coated Happy Apple brand name as a common factor among sickened consumers. Further evaluation led to an official recall of caramel and chocolate-nut coated Happy Apples produced by Orosi, California based Bidart Bros with “best by” dates ranging from August 25 to November 23, 2014.

The caramel apple recall was announced on December 25, after reports of listeria poisoning impacted individuals nationwide.

According to the latest update on the Listeria outbreak by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are at least 7 confirmed deaths, as well as 31 hospitalizations associated with the apples in 11 different states.

The current expansion of the recall now includes all Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace that were last shipped on December 2, 2014. Depending on the retailer the Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples could be sold under the brand name “Big B” and “Granny’s Best”, or they could be sold under other brand names or without a brand name. Customers who have bought Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailers if the apples were supplied by Bidart Bros.

Food Poisoning Lawsuits

Bidart Bros. and their distributors face a growing number of food poisoning lawsuits claiming wrongful death and negligence on the companies’ part.

On December 22, James Frey, filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Santa Cruz, claiming that his wife died after consuming a listeria tainted caramel apple purchased at a Safeway. The lawsuit names Safeway Inc. as a defendant and alleges that the company was negligent and breached duties owed to the plaintiffs resulting in the death of Shirlee Jean Frey.

The latest lawsuit stemming from the listeria tainted apples was filed on Friday, January 9, 2015, in the United States District Court of the District of New Mexico, on behalf of a mother and baby sickened by the infected apples. The complaint indicates that plaintiff Cathy James sought medical attention on November 8, 2014, for symptoms of listeria while pregnant. Just two days later and months before her scheduled due date, Cathy gave birth to a premature baby who was diagnosed with listeria monocytogens. Cathy and her newborn were both diagnosed with listeria causing them to be hospitalized and monitored. The baby remained in the hospital for over four weeks following birth. The complaint names the Bidart Bros. and Smith’s Food & Drug Centers, Inc. in the lawsuit as defendants.

The FDA is encouraging consumers to continue avoiding commercially produced, prepackaged whole caramel apples including those various brands and types containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, and other toppings that were manufactured using Bidart Bros apples. Several caramel apple brands have also issued recalls out of an abundance of caution, including Kroger, California Snack Foods and Merb’s Candies.

1 Comments

  • MarcusMay 4, 2017 at 8:04 am

    My wife is in her 3 trimester and we eat these apples all the time. We just discovered apple fuzz in the core of are apples the last time and just threw them away. She purchased more a few weeks later and there's more. I'm not sure what we should do. I'm going to have her go to the doctor tomorrow to be safe.

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