December 19, 2014 — The Star Tribune reports that two elderly people have died in Minnesota after eating caramel apples that were contaminated with Listeria, a bacteria that causes severe food poisoning.
The Minnesota Department of Health reports that four people have been infected in the outbreak. All of the victims were between the ages of 59 and 90. All of the victims were hospitalized and two died. The illnesses occurred in late October and November.
The health department warns:
“Consumers should not eat any brands of commercially-produced pre-packaged caramel apples until additional information is available.”
The outbreak has been traced to caramel apples sold under the Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brands at Cub Foods, Kwik Trip, and Mike’s Discount Foods. However, additional brands and locations may be affected.
The pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples were sold with toppings such as nuts, chocolate, and sprinkles. No illnesses have been linked to non-caramel apples that were not pre-packaged.
What is Listeriosis?
Listeriosis is a serious type of food poisoning that is caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Unlike many bacteria, it can grow under refrigeration temperatures. Symptoms can begin after 3 to 70 days after the initial infection.
The disease is very serious for older adults, newborns, and people with weak immune systems. Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or infection of the newborn.
Symptoms of listeriosis include:
- Muscle aches
- Stiff neck
- Loss of balance
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