December 20, 2014
Five Dead, 21 Hospitalized, After Eating Tainted Caramel Apples

Five people are dead and 21 hospitalized after consuming tainted pre-packaged caramel apples. The 28 people, in 10 states, were infected with listeria after eating the caramel apples.

According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, they are collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate an outbreak. The CDC notes that the outbreak is in regards to "Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples." They also note that listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness in affected individuals.

The CDC has also cautioned people not consume any pre-packaged caramel apple products.

"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."

The report notes that caramel apples are typically a staple during the fall months and begin to exit shelves leading into the winter. However, they note that consumers may still have caramel apple products in their homes that have yet to be consumed, and that some retailers may still have unsold product on their shelves. Therefore, the products should not be consumed until a specific brand and lot can be identified.

"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 Department of Health named a few retailers that sold the infected product.

"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."

The symptoms for listeriosis include the following.

  • fever
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • confusion
  • loss of balance
  • and convulsions

Symptoms typically begin three to 70 days after consuming the bacteria. Anyone who has consumed a caramel apple product and is exhibiting any of the previous symptoms is urged to contact their medical care provider.