The Presence of Listeria at an Apple Processing Facility Causes Major Food Recall

Image via Flickr by Deborah Fitchett

According to the California Health Department, the presence of Listeria monocytogens was found in Shafter at an apple processing facility. As a result, Gala apples and Granny Smith apples from the facility are being recalled nationwide. The affected apples are sold under the brand names “Granny’s Best” and “Big B,” and are supplied by Bidart Bros. Some commercially packaged caramel apples and other apple products have also been recalled.

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Consumers that purchased Gala apples or Granny Smith apples at the beginning of January are being asked to throw the apples out and not eat them. Grocery stores and other stores that carry the recalled fruit have been notified, and consumers are instructed to contact the places where they bought their fruit to see if the fruit is safe to eat. The last shipment of apples potentially laced with Listeria took place on December 2, 2014. However, some of these apples are still in circulation.

People who eat the affected fruit can develop Listeriosis, which is potentially fatal. Symptoms include nausea, headache, fever, and stiff muscles, especially in the neck. It is treatable, but it’s best not to eat the fruit to prevent the illness. It’s unclear whether cooking the apples prevents the illness.

Food recalls create challenges for supply chains. For instance, companies must create a plan for destroying the unusable food, cleaning their trucks, notifying stores that carry the products, and sometimes be involved in notifying consumers. Many companies have risk mitigation and public relations personnel to deal with these issues. However, a lot of the responsibility for notifying consumers is placed on the government’s health department. Large scale recalls are typically announced on the news.

The apple processing facility where listeria was found has been cleaned and tested. New apples from the facility are safe to eat. [/show_to]

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