Caramel apples have been linked to a listeria outbreak that has killed five people and sickened 29.
Because of the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people not to eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples, according to the CDC’s website.
Through Dec. 22, 29 people in 10 states — Arizona (four), California (one), Minnesota (four), Missouri (five), New Mexico (five), North Carolina (one), Texas (four), Utah (one), Washington (one) and Wisconsin (three) — had been sickened.
Of the five deaths, listeriosis contributed to three and may have contributed to another. One was not caused by listeriosis.
None of the illnesses have been linked to apples that are not caramel-coated and not prepackaged.
The onset of illnesses ranged from Oct. 17 to Nov. 27. All 29 of those sickened were hospitalized, and 20 of 23 of those interviewed reported eating caramel apples before getting sick.
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the outbreak.
No recalls have been issued.
Although caramel apples are often a fall seasonal product, contaminated product could still be on retail shelves or in consumers’ homes, according to the CDC.
Three of those sickened were children ages 5-15, who developed meningitis. Nine illnesses occurred in pregnant women or their newborn babies.