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Caramel Happy Apples Recalled In Canada Over Listeria Concern

12/25/2014 12:10 EST | Updated 02/23/2015 05:59 EST
OTTAWA - America-made caramel apples possibly contaminated with Listeria and linked to at least three deaths in the United States are being recalled in Canada.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Happy Apples brand caramel apples were sold in western Canada but may have also been sold in other regions.

The affected apples carry best before dates between Aug. 25 and Nov. 23 and the CFIA said they were most likely to be found in consumers' homes rather than in stores.

Missouri-based Happy Apples Co. initiated the recall after at least three deaths and some 29 illnesses in 10 states were linked to an outbreak of the deadly bacteria.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday that two cases of listeriosis — one in Ontario and one in Manitoba — had the same genetic fingerprint seen in the U.S.

The agency said the status of those two people was unknown and it was looking to see if they ate packaged caramel apples from the United States. The agency also said the risk to Canadians is low.

Happy Apple said one of the apple suppliers to its California facility reported a possible link between the listeria outbreak and the apples it had supplied.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said five deaths have been reported, with listeriosis contributing to three of them. It was unclear whether it contributed to a fourth, the agency said, while a fifth death was unrelated to listeriosis, the infection caused by the bacteria.

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause illness. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk.

— With files from The Associated Press

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