Three caramel apple makers have pulled their products from the market following a listeriosis outbreak linked to six deaths

Three caramel apple makers have pulled their products from the market following a listeriosis outbreak linked to six deaths

Three US confectioners have issued voluntary recalls of their caramel apple products following six deaths across the country, related to a listeria outbreak.

Happy Apple Company, California Snack Foods and Merb's Candies have recalled apples after an outbreak that has also seen 32 people fall ill.

As of 30 December, the CDC confirmed listeriosis contributed to three of the six deaths. It is unclear whether it contributed to two other deaths, while a sixth fatality was unrelated to listeriosis, the agency said.

On 24 December, Happy Apple Company issued a recall of its Happy Apple brand caramel apples with a use by date between 5 August and 23 November. Happy Apple said it ceased its operations at the end of October as part of its "normal seasonal shut down" but warned consumers to dispose of unused caramel apples.

On 27 December, California Snack Foods recalled its Karm'l Dapple brand of caramel apples with a use by date of between 15 August and 28 November. Merb's Candies, which ended production of its caramel apples as of 23 November, also recalled its Merb's Candies Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples that were available from 8 September to 25 November.

Investigators are continuing to work to identify if any other brands or types of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples may be linked to illnesses and to identify the source of contamination. The CDC has recommended that US consumers do not eat any commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples until more specific guidance can be provided.