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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a warning against pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples that have been causing illness and death as early as mid-October 2014. The caramel apples have been infected with a bacteria, Listeria, which causes the disease, Listeriosis, and can be particularly harmful to infants, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those with weak immune systems. Listeria is known to cause more deaths than Salmonella and E. Coli, and can be transmitted to an unborn child even though the mother does not become infected, causing miscarriage, pre-term delivery, and stillbirth. Pregnant women are ten times more likely to contract Listeriosis after consuming infected foods. Symptoms of Listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, and can usually be treated with anti-biotics in healthy people.

Since early October, 28 cases of Listeriosis contracted from caramel apples have been recorded, with 26 being hospitalized and five deaths. Two of the deaths were in Minnesota, and two others in Texas and California. Three cases of meningitis in older children have been linked to Listeria, causing some confusion, because healthy older children usually do not experience this type of infection from this particular bacterium. Listeria infections have been reported in Arizona, California, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. The CDC is currently conducting an investigation and is urging people to throw away any pre-packaged commercially produced caramel apples, and to take measures to ensure that they are not eaten by animals or scavengers after being thrown away. The CDC is not sure which specific brands contain the affected caramel apples, or whether the caramel coating or the apple itself contains the infection, yet assert that plain apples and other caramel products should be safe to eat. Some caramel apple producers, such as Happy Apple Company, are issuing voluntary recalls for “best by use” dates ranging between August 25th and November 23rd of 2014.

According to the CDC, 1,600 cases of Listeriosis are reported every year from consuming contaminated goods, resulting in 260 deaths annually. If you or a loved one are suffering from illness or wrongful death due to contaminated foods, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.