The US embassy in Hanoi has said Vietnam does not import apples from the US company that recalled its products recently over listeria concerns.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local authorities are investigating a listeriosis outbreak linked to commercially produced, pre-packaged whole caramel apples, it saida statement.
“The investigation is still ongoing, and no fresh apples have been associated with any illnesses to date.
“With regard to caramel apples, the Vietnam Food Agency of the Ministry of Health has already announced that no registrations for the import of these products have been issued since 2012.”
On January 6 Bidart Brothers of Bakersfield, California, recalled Granny Smith and Gala apples after environmental testing revealed contamination with Listeria monocytogenes at its apple packing facility in Shafter, California.
Three other US companies that used apples from Bidart have also issued recalls of their caramel-coated apples due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.
They are Lochirco Fruit & Produce, Inc. And Sugar Daddy LTD of Missouri and California Snack Foodsof California.
According to the embassy, over 98 percent of apples exported from the US to Vietnam come from Washington State and the rest from California, New York, and Oregon.
On Thursday Hoang Trung, deputy director of the Plant Protection Department, met with representatives of the US Embassy to discuss the issue.
He later said that at the meeting the embassy rejected the information that apples infected with the bacteria have been found in 11 states, claiming they were only found in Washington DC and had been supplied by Bidart Bros.
Vietnam has not imported apples from Bidart Bros, TuoiTre newspaper quoted Trung as saying.
According to the department, 35 Vietnamese companies imported 17,000 tons of apples from the US since early last year.
No certificates have been issued for the import of caramel apples into Vietnam, he said.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the department ordered tests of all apples imported from the US.