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No contaminated apples imported from U.S.: Viet Nam

Update: January, 23/2015 - 16:39

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed that Viet Nam has not imported any pre-packaged caramel apples from the United States.

The contaminated apples' consumption has reportedly killed at least three persons in the US and caused 30 others to be hospitalised due to a possible infection caused by the listeria monocytogenes virus.

Over 98 per cent of all apples exported from the US to Viet Nam are sourced from Washington state. Other suppliers to the Vietnamese market include producers in California, New York, and Oregon, according to the US Embassy in Viet Nam.

On January 6, Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California had voluntarily recalled their Granny Smith and Gala brand apples because environmental testing revealed contamination by the listeria monocytogenes virus at the firm's apple packing facility.

The recall includes all Granny Smith and Gala apples shipped from the company's Shafter, California packaging facility prior to December 2, 2014.

No other US companies producing apples, including those grown in Washington state, are part of the Bidart Brothers recall.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local authorities, is investigating the listeriosis (caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes) outbreak linked to commercially produced, pre-packaged whole caramel apples. The investigation is still ongoing, and no fresh apples have been associated with any other illnesses till date.

In addition to the Bidart Brothers, three other companies in the US that use apples from Bidart have issued voluntary recalls of their caramel-coated apples due to the potential contamination stemming from the virus.

These companies are: Lochirco Fruit & Produce Inc. (Happy Apple Company) and Sugar Daddy LTD (Merb's Candies) from Missouri and California Snack Foods from California.— VNS

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