A Missouri firm is recalling its Happy Apple brand caramel apples because of the potential that they could be contaminated with listeria, The Associated Press is reporting.
Happy Apple Co. of Washington, Missouri, said in a statement Wednesday that one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reports that there may be a connection between the listeria outbreak linked to five deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states and the apples it had supplied. The recall covers 31 states.
The CDC says it knows of 28 cases in which people were sickened with the same strains of the bacterial illness listeria, with 26 of them hospitalized. Of those who were hospitalized, five died. The CDC said listeriosis contributed to at least four of the deaths.
The agency said interviews showed that 83 percent of those sickened reported eating commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples before falling ill.
Three cases of meningitis linked to the listeria were also reported in children, the CDC said. The three children were not among those who died.
Those who fell ill got sick between Oct. 17 and Nov. 27. CDC said it's possible other illnesses have occurred since then. Christopher Braden of the CDC said the agency is still trying to determine the specific brands that were involved.
Two of the deaths were in Minnesota and one was in Texas, according to the CDC. The agency was not able to say where the other two deaths occurred.
The CDC said the illnesses also occurred in Arizona, California, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.