Caramel apples are arguably the stickiest, sweetest part of fall. I challenge you to find an activity messier than making your own caramel apples in preparation for Halloween. Apparently, your innocent candy apple creations could kill you.
A recent study revealed that the sticks in caramel apples are prone to developing listeria, a bacteria that leads to an infection called listeriosis. Listeriosis is a nasty disease (trust me, you don’t want it) that leaves you with muscle aches, fever, diarrhea and convulsions.
Last year, seven people died and 35 developed infections, thanks to a listeria outbreak tied to pre-packaged caramel apples. Turns out, the juice that leaks from the apple when you puncture it with a stick stays in the crevice between the fruit and the caramel and causes harmful bacteria to form. Leaving caramel apples unrefrigerated makes it even more likely that they’ll develop the deadly bacteria.
How can you avoid this, you ask? Have no fear: you can still partake in the holy matrimony of caramel and apples. Try these Pinterest-approved mini caramel apple pies, sea salt apple cider caramels, or just dip your apples in silky smooth caramel.
#SpoonTip: If you can’t live without your sacred caramel apples, that’s okay, too. Just don’t puncture the apple with a stick until right before you eat it, or slice it instead of using a stick altogether.