Family Sues Safeway After Mother’s Death Linked To Listeria-Contaminated Caramel Apple Sold At Store

Last week officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned consumers to avoid eating prepackaged caramel apples left over from the fall following reports that 29 people fell ill and three died after consuming the sweet treats that may be contaminated with the potentially deadly bacteria listeria. Now, a California family has filed a lawsuit against Safeway claiming their mother died after eating the desserts purchased from the store.

KCRA-TV reports that the family of the 81-year-old woman filed the lawsuit after her death was linked to prepackaged caramel apples sold at the grocery chain.

According to the lawsuit, the woman bought the caramel apples from a local Safeway supermarket a few days before Halloween. She died on December 2 after suffering from a listeria-related infection.

Officials with the CDC confirmed the woman fell ill from the same strains of the bacteria illness that infected 29 others in 10 states.

It was originally believed that five of those 29 people died as a result of the infection, however the CDC recently updated its report to clarify that only three have officially been linked to the bacteria. One death was ruled to be unrelated and the cause of the fifth death has yet to be determined.

An attorney representing the woman’s husband and two sons says health investigators took the remaining caramel apples from the family’s house for testing.

He tells KCRA that under California law, Safeway is liable for selling a produce that is contaminated with listeria.

A spokesperson for Safeway could not be reached by KCRA for comment.

The CDC is still working to determine which brands of caramel apples are involved in the recall and just how many of the desserts may contain the bacteria.

Last week, officials with the agency warned all consumers to avoid eating 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.

Officials with the CDC reported that the outbreak was first reported by the Minnesota Department of Health, which found four people between the ages of 59 and 90 had been infected.

The Department reports that the patients had eaten caramel apples during the months of October and November and were all subsequently hospitalized. Two died from the infection.

The Minnesota patients reported purchasing the caramel apples from Cub Foods, Kwik Trip and Mike’s Discount Foods, which carried the Carnival and Kitchen Cravings brands of caramel apples, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

While the seasonal apples are no longer available for sale, Minnesota Dept. of Health officials and the CDC say they fear consumers may still have tainted apples in their possession.

Woman’s family sues Safeway for selling caramel apples [KCRA-TV]

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