I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who love to sample all kinds of goodies at Costco. There’s no way you’ll make me buy a three-pound bag of chicken wontons or two loaves of some frou-frou bread if I haven’t at least tasted it once. That’s how basil pesto tilapia became a household favorite, after all.
I distinctly remember the first time about a decade ago when I saw neon bright M&M, chocolate-sprinkle and heath toffee- decorated granny smith apples drizzled….no, drowned, in chocolate and caramel. I swooned. And, of course, sampled.
Ever since, I always look forward to the festive holiday season, because I know I’ll see those tasty treats everywhere. I only crave a few bites each season.
Sadly, after reading this news article about a deadly listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples, those bites are not going to happen for me in 2014.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), five people have died - three of them directly as a result of listeriosis - and more than two dozen fell sick in a multi-state Listeria outbreak, including in Arizona and California, that has been linked to prepackaged caramel apples.
These apples were commercially produced.
The CDC warns:
- Consumers should not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, including plain caramel apples as well as those containing nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, or other toppings, until more specific guidance can be provided.
- Although caramel apples are often a fall seasonal product, contaminated commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may still be for sale at grocery stores and other retailers nationwide or may be in consumers’ homes.
In general, pregnant women, babies, as well as adults with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to falling ill, if they consume an item contaminated with the bacteria.
Here are some handy tips on how to prevent listeriosis.
I’m taking note of all this and just sticking to my other favorite: chocolate truffles. I think I’ll make it through the season just fine. Hope you do too. Have a safe and healthy holiday season!