Over 98 percent of all apples exported from the United States to Vietnam come from Washington State. Other suppliers to the Vietnamese market include producers in California, New York, and Oregon.
On January 6, 2015, Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California voluntarily recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples because environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at the firm’s apple packing facility. The recall includes all Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from its Shafter, California packing facility prior to December 2, 2014.
No other U.S. companies producing apples, including those growing in Washington State, are part of the Bidart Brothers recall.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local authorities are investigating a listeriosis (caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes) outbreak linked to commercially produced, prepackaged whole caramel apples. The investigation is still ongoing, and no fresh apples have been associated with any illnesses to date.
With regard to caramel apples, the Vietnam Food Agency (VFA) of the Ministry of Health has already announced that no registrations for the import of these products have been issued since 2012.
The U.S. Embassy is communicating with VFA and other relevant authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide the most updated information available.
In addition to Bidart Brothers, three other companies in the United States that used apples from Bidart have issued voluntary recalls of their caramel-coated apples due to the potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. These companies are: Lochirco Fruit & Produce, Inc. (Happy Apple Company), in Missouri; California Snack Foods, in California; and Sugar Daddy LTD (Merb’s Candies), in Missouri.
The FDA has informed all trading partners known to have sourced apples from Bidart Brothers of these developments to ensure all consumers and foreign regulators are provided with accurate information and are able to take appropriate actions to prevent the consumption of recalled apple products sourced from these companies. These countries are: Canada, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
Further information about the investigation and these recalls is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and can be obtained at the following websites: