The Outbreak: According to the CDC and Canadian Public Health, as of December 24, 2014, 31 people in 10 states and two provinces have been reported as being infected with the outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes. The CDC reports that 29 ill people have been hospitalized. Listeriosis contributed to at least five of the deaths. Nine illnesses were pregnancy-related. Four illnesses were among otherwise healthy children ages 5 – 15 years. Illnesses have been reported in Arizona (4), California (1), Minnesota (4), Missouri (5), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (1), Texas (4), Utah (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (3) and in Ontario (1) and Manitoba (1), Canada. Deaths have been reported in California (1), Minnesota (2), Missouri (1) and Texas (1).
The Lawsuit: Marler Clark, the nation’s only law firm dedicated to representing victims of foodborne illness, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Safeway Inc., in the Superior Court of Santa Cruz on behalf of James Raymond Frey, 87, and the estate of his deceased wife, Shirlee Jean Frey, 81, who died tragically on December 2, 2014 after consuming a Listeria-tainted caramel apple purchased at the Safeway in Felton, California. The case number is CISCV180721. The complaint was amended to add in two additional parties – Happy Apple and Bidart Brothers. Safeway instituted a recall.
- Happy Apple reported that it recently received notice from Bidart Brothers, one of its apple suppliers to the Orosi California facility, that there may be a connection between this outbreak and the apples that they supplied to that facility.
- California Snack Foods issued a voluntary recall of California Snack Foods brand caramel apples with a best use by date between August 15th and November 28th 2014.
- Pacific Coast Fruit announced on its website that it was made aware that Bidart Brothers was recalling apples sold to caramel coated candy apple.. Happy Apples purchased apples from Bidart Brothers and Pacific Coast Fruit in turn distributed Happy Apples to Pacific Coast Fruit customers. Pacific Coast Fruit Company is now in the process of contacting customers and recalling all Happy Apple brand apples sold after September 22, of 2014.
- Merb’s Candies is issuing a voluntary recall of the Merb’s Candies brand Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples. Merb’s Candies has been working with the Food and Drug Administration in their investigation of the current outbreak of Listeriosis, which has been associated with caramel apples. Bidart Brothers, who is one of Merb’s Candies apple suppliers, has initiated a recall, as there may be a connection between this outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes and apples they supplied Merb’s Candies.
- Although no recall has been announced, 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.
The Law Firm: Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria outbreaks. The Listeria lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our Listeria lawyers have litigated Listeria cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of foods, such as cantaloupe, cheese, celery and milk.