Washington on Friday assured the Filipino consumers that apple shipments from the mainland United States are safe for human consumption, stressing that only a single packinghouse was involved in the recall due to possible contamination of Listerosis bacteria.
“The recall of fresh Gala and Granny Smith apples by the Bidart Brothers packinghouse in California is voluntary, and no U.S. fresh apples have been linked to the outbreak of Listeria,” the U.S. Embassy in Manila said in a statement.
The embassy also noted that apples from all sources other than the Bidart packinghouse are not included in the voluntary recall.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the harmful bacteria Listerai monocytogenese has thus far only been linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples from Bidart Brothers Apples in California.
The FDA has also said that the growing season for these types of apples has ended and the firm’s last shipping date was December 2, 2014. Bidart Bros is no longer shipping apples.
Fresh apples provide many health benefits, which accounts for their popularity in the Philippines.
In 2014, US exports of fresh apple to the Philippines through November reached $10 million, and 8,595 metric tons, which is up 72 percent in terms of volume compared to the same period in 2013.
Earlier, the Philippine Department of Agriculture said it has implemented strict monitoring to prevent the entry of apples from the United States, which were reportedly contaminated with Listerosis bacteria.
Exposure to the bacteria causes Listeriosis, a rare but serious illness that may cause death. It can cause flu-like symptoms, diarrhea and meningitis, among others.
The DA-Bureau of Plant Industry said that it has already alerted all ports of entry nationwide to closely monitor all apple shipments from the mainland US.