WASHINGTON - A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria. The recall comes after at least three deaths and at least 29 illnesses in 10 states have been linked to an outbreak of the deadly bacteria.
Happy Apple Co. of Washington, Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday that one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reported that there may be a connection between the listeria outbreak and the apples it had supplied. The recall covers 31 states.
The Food and Drug Administration is continuing to advise consumers not to eat prepacked, commercially produced whole caramel apples.
The recalled Happy Apple caramel apples were sold in single pack, three packs, four packs and eight packs with a best use by date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23. They were available for retail sale through grocery, discount and club stores 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.
Happy Apple said the recalled caramel apples were no longer available in stores.
The grocery chain Safeway pulled prepackaged caramel apples from its shelves after the family of an 81-year-old woman who died of listeria filed suit Monday. She had bought several caramel apples from a Safeway supermarket in Felton, California, in October, the suit claimed.
The FDA says five deaths have been reported, with listeriosis contributing to three of the deaths. It is unclear whether it contributed to a fourth, the agency said, while a fifth death was unrelated to listeriosis, the infection caused by the bacteria.