Happy Apple Company, based in Washington, Missouri, released a statement Wednesday stating that one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reported that there may be a connection between the listeria outbreak and the applies supplied to that facility.
Happy Apple caramel apples are sold individually and in packs of three, four and eight apples. The recall involves apples with a best use by date between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23.
The apples were available through grocery, discount and club stores in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
The Food and Drug Administration is continuing to advise consumers not to eat pre-packed, commercially produced whole caramel apples.
The grocery chain Safeway pulled prepackaged caramel apples from its shelves after the family of an 81-year-old woman who died of listeria filed suit Monday. She had bought several caramel apples from a Safeway supermarket in Felton, California, in October, the suit claimed.
The FDA says five deaths have been reported, with listeriosis contributing to three of the deaths. It is unclear whether it contributed to a fourth, the agency said, while a fifth death was unrelated to listeriosis, the infection caused by the bacteria.
Listeriosis is usually caused when a person ingests listeria monocytogenes bacteria and it can cause particular harm among the elderly people, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include gastrointestinal distress, fever and muscle aches.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.