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Apples imported from US linked to listeria outbreak

 
The Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine says that a harmful bacterium has been discovered in certain stocks of apples imported from US. 

Therefore consumers are requested to be cautious when purchasing apples from markets, Secretary to the Health Ministry D.M.R.B. Dissanayake said. 

He stated that the bacterium has been identified as Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the serious infection Listeriosis – through the consumption of food contaminated with the bacterium.

Companies exporting apples have recalled the fruits in view of the listeria outbreak, Dissanayake said. 

However, according to the President of the Public Health Inspectors’ Association, Upul Rohana, there is no accurate method to identify the contaminated apples.

Measures have been taken to remove all apples imported from America currently in the market while nearly 2,000 Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) have been tasked with carrying this out, he told Ada Derana. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local authorities are investigating a listeriosis outbreak linked to commercially produced, pre-packaged whole caramel apples.

On January 6 Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California, recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples after environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at its apple packing facility in Shafter, California.

Three other US companies that used apples from Bidart have also issued recalls of their caramel-coated apples due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.

They are Lochirco Fruit & Produce, Inc. And Sugar Daddy LTD of Missouri and California Snack Foodsof California.

The findings at the Bidart Bros. plant spreads the net of recalls to all Gala and Granny Smith apples distributed by the company. Brand names include “Granny’s Best” and “Big B,” but the apples can be sold under other brand names or with no brand at all.

In early January,  Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines each banned imports of both kinds of apples coming from the U.S. supplier.

According to the company, no Granny Smith apples have been shipped from the plant since December 2, 2014.