Couple Sues Caramel Apple Company, Supplier And Walmart Following Woman’s Listeria-Linked Illness

Less than a month after a California family filed a lawsuit against Safeway for selling caramel covered apples linked to an outbreak of listeria, a second California couple has filed a similar suit against one of the candy apple makers, Walmart and the producer where the apples came from.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of Sacramento County, claims that Happy Apple Company, Bidart Bros. and Walmart breached their duties in ensuring safe, growing, manufacturing and processing of apples and failing to warn the public about the “dangerous propensities of the caramel apples, particularly that they were contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Happy Apples, which has issued a recall of its treats, used Bidart Bros., whose apples have been linked to the same two strains of listeria that has killed seven people and sickened more than 30 others.

According to the lawsuit, the couple claims a woman fell ill in October after eating a caramel apple purchased form a Walmart store in California. Several weeks later she collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where she tested positive for listeria bacterium. Shortly after returning home, she collapsed again on January 10.

The couple’s lawyer tells the Business Journal in a statement that the lawsuit is a step in determining “exactly how the outbreak occurred and will force those responsible to daily compensate the victims and take all necessary steps to make sure a similar situation never happens again.”

The widespread listeria outbreak came to light in mid-December when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning about caramel apples.

According to the CDC, seven people have died and 32 were sickened as a result of an outbreak of listeriosis infections.

The CDC reports that a majority of the people infected by listeria fell ill after eating packaged, caramel-coated apples.

Three companies – Happy Apples, California Snack Foods and Merb’s Candies – have each announced recalls of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples since news of the contamination began in late December.

Washington, Mo., apple seller sued after listeria outbreak [The St. Louis Business Journal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.