Safeway pulls caramel apples off shelves as listeria cases grow

first_imgFederal health officials still have named no stores, brands or manufacturers connected with a growing outbreak of listeria in prepackaged caramel apples linked to five deaths and more than two dozen illnesses in 10 states.But officials with the Safeway grocery chain said they’d pulled the treats from store shelves just in case.As of Monday, 29 people had been sickened and hospitalized, including a new victim in Wisconsin. Of those who died, all were infected with the outbreak strain of listeria, although the pathogen may not have directly caused two of the deaths, health officials said.The victims included a teenage boy from Thurston County, Wash., who has since recovered, state health officials said.Seattle food-safety lawyer Bill Marler filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of the family of an 81-year-old California woman who they say died after eating a caramel apple and contracting listeria.The complaint filed in Santa Cruz County Superior Court claims that Shirlee Jean Frey, of Felton, Calif., bought the treat at a local Safeway store before Halloween, ate it, and became so ill that she fell and hit her head Nov. 6. She was hospitalized and had surgery. She died Dec. 2 with a listeria infection tied to the outbreak, the complaint says.Brian Dowling, Safeway’s vice president of public affairs, said in a statement that the store had taken action.“We are aware of the issue regarding caramel apples and have proactively removed the product from sale in our stores. However, we are currently not aware of any illness tied to items purchased at our stores,” the statement said.last_img read more

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