The impacts of an outbreak: caramel apple edition

As state and local health department and FDA folks try to get to the root of a caramel apple-linked Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, businesses big and small are dealing with the fallout.

The song, according to KOTA TV, remains the same – it’s not my product (I don’t think), but because of all the uncertainty sales are taking a hit.Unknown-21

Oh and we haven’t had an illness ever.

Recent reports from the CDC about Listeria outbreaks have owner Lori Carson worried that she will miss out on tending to customers minds or stomachs.

“It was Friday afternoon I got a phone call asking if it was safe to eat my apples. I was extremely confused why that question came out,” Carson said. Recent customers explained to Carson the headlines they read about the CDC report.

“It scared me a little bit and by Friday afternoon our sales did drop off. I wasn’t sure if it was just the afternoon or if it was due to this broadcast about caramel apples,” Carson said.

The report linked the listeria outbreak to pre-packaged, mass produced caramel apples and not the ones made fresh daily by local businesses.

After selling more than 5,000 apples this holiday season, Carson is happy to say she’s had no complaints.

“We’ve never had a complaint about one apple ever making someone sick,” Carson said.

Carson also says concerned customers may have been a blessing in disguise.

“I’m glad I got the phone call. It alerted me it made me aware that I needed to address the problem, that people are safe,” Carson said.

And unlike the pre-packaged caramel apples you find in stores the apples at Caramel Creations are refrigerated through the entire process to help ensure their safety to the public.

Yep, and Listeria monocytogenes grows at refrigeration temperatures.

2 dead, 2 sick: Minnesota links caramel apples, 2 listeria deaths

Minnesota health officials say two people died and two others became ill this fall after eating prepackaged caramel apples contaminated with the bacterium listeria.

0b1d2d18d5851e7b175ba98f98488433The Minnesota Departments of Health and Agriculture are warning consumers to wait for more information before eating any pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples, including those topped with nuts, chocolate and sprinkles.

The department’s press release says federal health officials are investigating the listeriosis outbreak. It wasn’t immediately clear what other states were affected.

The four people who became ill in Minnesota in late October and November were between 59 and 90 years old. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with listeria. It usually affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.