Listeria Outbreak: Do Not Consume Any Kind of Apples – Facts


Story: 

Attention to all. Do not consume any kind of apples at this moment, may it be Granny Smith, Enza, gala etc. Many people have died because of the bacteria found in these apples, Listeria. It can cause a serious, life threatening illness. All apples around b world will be collected and sent to the United States for further investigation. SHARE this to your loved ones before it is too late. DO NOT COMSUME ANY APPLES FOR THE TIME BEING.

Analysis:

The story doing rounds on social media warns general public around the world not to consume any kind of Apples stating that many people have died because of a bacteria called Listeria found in apples. It is also said that all apples around the world shall be collected and sent back to the United States for further investigation. These claims are mixture of hoax and facts as described below.

Picture of Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria
Listeria Monocytogenes Bacteria

The Listeriosis Outbreak

In late December 2014, just before Christmas, Listeriosis outbreak was reported, linking it to the prepackaged whole Caramel Apples that are commercially-produced. Listeriosis is a rare, but harmful bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Three people died because of the Listeria bacterial infection and as of this writing, 35 people were sickened across 12 states, including tens of cases in Wisconsin, Washington, Utah, Texas, North Carolina, New Mexico, Missouri, Minnesota, California and Arizona.

Picture of Gala Apple
Gala Apple

Investigations of the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) revealed that the Listeria outbreak during holiday season originated in the apples themselves, which were grown in central California — pinpointing the Bidart Bros. of Bakersfield’s apple processing plant. They found two strains of Listeria monocytogenes at the company’s processing plant in Bakersfield. Further investigations disclosed that the contamination spread to Gala and Granny Smith apples distributed by Bidart Bros.

Picture of Granny Smith Apple
Granny Smith Apple

In between these concerns, on 6 January 2015, Bidart Bros. issued a voluntary recall of all Gala and Granny Smith apples that were shipped from its Shafter in California packing facility in 2014. Moreover, as of this writing, three other companies listed below have issued voluntary recalls of caramel apples for potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes:

  • Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri
  • Merb’s Candies of St. Louis, Missouri
  • California Snack Foods of El Monte, California

For these fears of Listeriosis bacteria contamination, in early January, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines stopped the import of both kinds of apples (Gala and Granny Smith) coming from the U.S. (California) supplier.

Symptoms of Listeriosis

Bacterial infection Listeriosis can cause high fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Listeriosis can be deadly in certain high-risk groups like the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and certain chronic medical conditions like cancer.

What To Do

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above after eating commercially-produced, prepackaged apples, seek medical care at the earliest. Do not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples being recalled by Bidart Bros. Note that the company sells them under brand names “Granny’s Best” and “Big B,” but the apples may also be sold under other brand names or without any brand name at all. Consumers should also avoid consuming the commercially-produced, prepackaged whole caramel apples produced using Bidart Bros. apples. The consumers who bought Granny Smith or Gala apples recently are advised by FDA to ask their retailers whether the apples were supplied by Bidart Bros. As a safety measure, consumers should clean thoroughly the refrigerators, food preparation surfaces & utensils that may have come in contact with the apple kinds. Consumers are also advised to wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. You can read the detailed instructions on CDC website cdc.gov. Consumers with questions about the Bidart Bros. recall can contact the company at 661-399-0978.

So the concerns about Listeria bacterial infection associated to certain kinds of apples discussed above are facts. However, like suggested in the message, not all kinds of apples around the world are contaminated and recalled. The Enza type of apples mentioned in the message is in fact an Apple and Pear marketing brand in New Zealand, which, as of this writing, is not recalled for contamination either.

Hoax or Fact:

Mixture of hoax and facts.

Related Stories:

Be Careful – Apples Coated with Harmful Wax
4015 Red Delicious Apple is Genetically Engineered
HIV-AIDS Transmitted through Eating Pine Apple

References:

Listeria Outbreak Linked to California-Grown Gala and Granny Smith Apples
FDA Investigates Listeria monocytogenes Illnesses Linked to Caramel Apples


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Listeria Outbreak: Do Not Consume Any Kind of Apples – Facts

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