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Listeria finding prompts recall of apples from Michigan grower

UPDATED: A spokeswoman for Jack Brown Produce says only whole, fresh apples are included in the recall. No sliced or chopped apples are implicated.

A Michigan grower is urging consumers to check apples in their homes and immediately discard them if their packaging has specific codes that identify apples recalled today because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Jack Brown Produce Inc. is recalling certain lots of Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and golden delicious apples, packaged under the brand name “Apple Ridge” according to the recall notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

The company has stopped distribution of the apples, which it sent to retailers in Michigan, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. The apples shipped from Dec. 11 through Dec. 16.

“Jack Brown Produce Inc. said it has stopped distribution of any further products processed at Nyblad Orchards of Kent City as the FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem,” according to the recall notice.

“The recall was the result of a routine sampling program which revealed that finished products contained listeria monocytogenes. The tests were conducted at a Nyblad Orchards Inc. processing facility.”

The notice did not specifically say if the recall includes freshcut apples in addition to whole apples.

Recalled apples, as listed in the notice, are:

  • Honeycrisp apples in two-pound clear plastic bags;
  • Gala apples in 3-pound clear plastic bags,
  • Fuji and Golden Delicious apples in 3-pound clear plastic bags;
  • Fuji and Gala apples in 5-pound red-netted mesh bags; and
  • Gala, Fuji and Honeycrisp apples that were tray-packed and individually sold.

Consumers can identify the recalled apples by looking for lot numbers on the bag labels and/or bag-closure clips:

  • Honeycrisp — NOI 159, 160, 173
  • Gala — NOI 164, 166 on either the product labels and/or bag-closure clip.
  • Fuji — NOI 163, 165, 167, 169, 174
  • Golden Delicious — NOI 168

“Consumers who have purchased Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious Apples under the brand name “Apple Ridge” on or after Dec. 11, 2017 are urged to destroy the product and contact Jack Brown Produce Inc. for a full refund,” according to the recall notice.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 616-887-9568 or toll-free at 1-800-348-0834, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and ask for Lisa Ingalls.

Additional information for consumers
Listeria monocytogenes is a microscopic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled apples and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical attention and inform their doctors of the possible exposure to the pathogen.

It can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop. Consequently, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled apples should monitor themselves for symptoms in the coming weeks.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infections can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. In severe cases, the infection leads to death.

A listeriosis outbreak in 2014-15 that was traced to whole apples from a California grower infected 35 people from 12 states, putting 34 of them in the hospital. Listeria monocytogenes bacteria contributed to at least three of the seven deaths that were linked to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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