No one ever thinks that an apple could be deadly. So who would think that a superbly common fruit like the apple could come under fire as one of the most dangerous foods of 2015?
Of course, apples, by nature, are NOT dangerous. Many of us have eaten apples without a hitch. But after a bacterial outbreak caused 7 deaths in addition to hospitalizing 31 individuals, apples have come under fire within the last few weeks as a potential hazard to our daily lives. Biter beware!
The apple scare all started when a strain of listeria bacteria was traced back to an apple processing plant in California where caramel apples were made and distributed to multiple grocers. The apples in question relate to Granny Smith and Gala apples according to tests.
There’s no doubt that consumers have been alarmed at the recent apple scare – and for good reason. Apples are rarely recalled or pulled into question because of its hard, generally impenetrable surface. In other words, it’s a hard fruit to contaminate. Often, if an apple much less any other food item comes into contact with harmful bacteria during handling or transportation, there could be a great cause for concern if the fruit is not washed. In this case, because most of the deaths and illnesses were traced to prepackage caramel apples, it is possible the contamination happened as a result of its handling. In the most recent reports, consumers are being urged to dispose of any Granny Smith or gala apples purchased with these logos and brand identifiers.
For more information on the apple recall, click here to learn more from the FDA.
WHAT COULD BE SCARIER THAN THE APPLE SCARE?
The truth is that apples are rarely at the heart of bacterial scares such as this one. Again, it’s a hard fruit to mess with – after all, an apple is a whole fruit with just one major part. Other fruits and vegetables can be far more dangerous, and that’s indeed a scary thought. For example, according to Yahoo! Health, here are some of the fruits and veggies that are always an area of concern according to experts.
About two years ago, we reported on a similar story involving a cantaloupe scare with the same bacteria in question. At the time, multiple people tragically passed away and many others got sick as a result of Listeria bacteria found on the surface of the fruit. Like apples, cantaloupe is a difficult fruit to penetrate although its ridged rind is an easy target for bacteria to collect. The problem in that case was that the fruit was not washed before it was cut; once the knife made contact with the bacteria from the surface of the fruit, it was immediately transferred to the flesh of the fruit inside. Then, after being consumed, disaster struck.
There’s a reason that pregnant women are told not to eat sprouts, and understandably so! Sprouts have a million little nooks and crannies where harmful bacteria can settle and quickly reproduce. In addition, the very way sprouts are grown is the very way that bacteria grows – and when it comes to safety, it may become difficult to separate the two from cohabitating. This vegetable has had its bad rap of press, too; sprouts have been recently linked to more than 50 deaths in Germany in 2011 and another 100 ill Americans when in 2014 it was discovered that certain sprout brands had been contaminated with salmonella.
Like sprouts, all the nooks and crannies within leafy greens can lead to disaster when it comes to bacteria. Plus, as leafy greens grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to wash each leaf once picked; the tiny leaflets within the heart of the vegetable are very difficult to clean. The good news is that, once cooked, leafy green veggies are perfectly fine to consume.
Tomatoes are often dunked in a tank of water before they are packaged and shipped to the grocer. Dunk tank water is an interesting science; if the water is not within 5 degrees of the temperature of the tomato, a vacuum is formed, setting the perfect stage for osmosis to occur. That means if the temperature of the dunk tank water is slightly off, that same water will penetrate the interior of the tomato.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
To prevent personal injury, consumers are advised to always wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly. In addition, you may want to consider a fruit and veggie wash made from vinegar or water-soluble soap. Fruit and veggie washes can be found in most any grocery store or discount retailer. Or, simply make your own. In addition, consider scrubbing fruits and veggies with a scrub brush to thoroughly remove dirt and bacteria.
WHEN RECALLS RESULT IN PERSONAL INJURY
If you have been injured as a result of a recall-related issue, you may be entitled to financial compensation. It’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney. Call us 24/7 at 1-858-551-2090 to speak to a lawyer right away.
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines