Today, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the results of findings from additional tests performed on samples collected from Bidart Bros. apple processing plant.
Test results confirm two strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found at the apple processing facility and are believed to be the same strains associated with the outbreak. Those same strains were also found in Bidart Bros. apples collected from a retailer by the FDA. Today, the CDC confirmed that the majority of the persons made ill reported consuming caramel-coated apples.
“The results are devastating to the Bidart family,” says Leonard Bidart, President Bidart Bros. “As a family-owned grower operating in California since the 1930s, we place safety at the forefront of everything we do. Our hearts go out to all who have been impacted by the apple-related listeriosis outbreak.
“From the moment we learned of the issue, we committed ourselves to cooperating completely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the California Department of Public Health.” The FDA notified Bidart Bros. of the results of the additional testing today.
Given the findings from the latest test results, and out of an abundance of caution, the company has instituted a voluntary recall of all Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace. Bidart Bros. is contacting all of their retailers with specific instructions as to how to return those apples to Bidart Bros. Bidart Bros. last shipped Granny Smith apples to customers on December 2, 2014.
Consumers should not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples being recalled by Bidart Bros. These apples can be sold under the brand names “Big B” and “Granny’s Best,” though, they could also be sold under other brand names or with no brand at all. Consumers who are buying or have recently bought Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailers if the apples were supplied by Bidart Bros. Other varieties of apples and apples from other growers are not affected by the recall.
Consumers should avoid eating commercially produced, prepackaged whole caramel apples including those various brands and types containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate & other toppings that were manufactured using Bidart Bros. apples. Consumers who are buying or have recently bought caramel apples should ask their retailer if the caramel apples were manufactured using recalled apples.
Recommendations for preventing listeriosis are available at the CDC Listeria website: http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/prevention.html.
Bidart Bros. takes product safety very seriously, which is why the company has extensive, time-tested best practices within their facilities to address contamination- related issues. Each year, Bidart Bros. voluntarily requests that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conduct an audit of Bidart Bros. food-safety and food-handling protocols. On September 19, 2014, the USDA certified that for 2014 Bidart Bros. met the USDA criteria for good agricultural practices and good handling practices in its apple plant. Yet, as a result of these latest findings, Bidart Bros