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Bako Packer Had Listeria Problem

Inspectors Find Listeria at Bidart Bros. Cooling and Packing House

Caramel apples were linked to 2014 Listeria outbreak

from Food Safety News

May 30,2015-

Inspector observations from the investigation into the role of Bidart Bros. in last year’s 12-state outbreak of Listeriosis involving commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples found that the problem could well have originated in the California grower’s apple cooler and packing facility.

The observations are found on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 483 forms completed after four on-site investigations were conducted at the company’s facility in Shafter, CA, from Dec. 23, 2014, to Jan. 6, 2015, along with a mostly public 16-page report.

The investigative team, including officials from FDA and the California Department of Public Health, took samples from food and non-food contact surfaces in packing and common cold storage areas and from outside storage bins. Positives for Listeria monocytogenes came back for seven areas, and six of those were from direct food contact surfaces.

BidartBros_406x250Results of the on-site investigation last Jan. 6 caused Bidart Bros., one of northern California’s best known fruit-growing families, to voluntarily recall all the Granny Smith and Gala apples that were processed during 2014 through their cooler-packing facility.

Before that action, three distributors of caramel apples — Happy Apples, California Snack Foods Inc. and Merb’s Candies — had recalled caramel apples they produced in response to the Listeria outbreak.

That outbreak required the hospitalization of 34 of 35 people from 12 states who were sickened. Before the outbreak ended, seven of them were dead, and Listeriosis was blamed for the deaths of at least three of them.

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