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Apple (food, not computer) recall in Georgia

Consumers advised not to eat certain apples and pre-packaged caramel apples due to foodborne illness outbreak
Recalls impacting Georgia are part of the ongoing investigation

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black is alerting Georgians to the recall of certain apples and pre-packaged caramel apples sold in Georgia for potential health risk due to possible product contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) inspectors will be checking retail stores and warehouses to make sure the recalled products have been removed from sale.

 As of Tuesday, Jan. 8, 32 people infected with outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported in 11 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To date, no illnesses have been reported in Georgia.

The majority of ill people interviewed by health officials reported eating commercially-produced, prepackaged whole caramel apples. Caramel apple brands named in interviews include Happy Apple, Carnival and Merb’s Candies. However, the investigation continues and other brands may be identified.

 Current products under recall impacting Georgia include:

  • Happy Apple Brand caramel apples sold in grocery, discount and club stores, generally in the produce section. The product comes in single, three-, four- and eight-packs. Each pack has a “best use by date” of Aug. 25 through Nov. 23, 2014 on the front of the label.
  • Merb’s Candies brand Bionic Apples and Double Dipped Apples sold through mail orders nationwide. The product is individually packaged in a clear, burgundy and gold cellophane bag and was available for purchase Sept. 8 through Nov. 25, 2014 (no additional identifying lot codes were used).
  • Bidart Brothers Gala or Granny Smith apples. The apples can be sold under brand names “Big B,” “Granny’s Best,” other brand names or no brand at all. Consumers who are buying, or have recently purchased, Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailer(s) if the apples were supplied by Bidart Brothers. Other varieties of apples and apples from other growers are not affected by the recall.

 Listeria is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

 While the caramel apples produced are no longer available for sale, they may still remain in consumer homes. Consumers are encouraged to follow the advice of the CDC and throw away the products in a secure manner, which will help avoid the potential spread of contamination to animals.

 Consumers who have any product may return it to the store where purchased or throw it away, per the advice of the CDC. More information is available online


Rep. Graves Votes to Build Keystone Pipeline


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) issued the following statement after voting in favor of the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (H.R. 3), which would authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline:

“Building the Keystone XL pipeline is just common sense. It creates tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and adds billions of dollars to our economy. With five safety and environmental reviews conducted by the State Department and the breaking news this morning that the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed their governor’s right to approve the pipeline’s route inside Nebraska, I’m not sure how the administration would justify anything but signing this major private-sector jobs project into law.”


According to the State Department, the Keystone XL pipeline would create approximately 42,100 jobs and roughly $2 billion in earnings throughout the country.


In recent years, Rep. Graves has supported several bills and voted on multiple occasions to allow the Keystone pipeline to move forward.


Pickens in desperate need of foster parents

 “All you need is an extra bed, patience and love,” said DFCS director


Shane and Mandy Grizzle are one of just six foster families in Pickens County. The Grizzles currently have three adopted children, pictured above, and one foster child living with them in their west Pickens home. Call 1-877-210-KIDS to learn more about becoming a foster parent. 


Imagine that you’re 10 years old and a court has ordered you be taken away from your parents, who are both addicted to meth and who have been abusing or neglecting you and your siblings.

Rezoning request for industrial facility denied

City to start pre-treating most dangerous roads in winter weather


        Shane and Mandy Grizzle are one of just six foster families in Pickens County. The Grizzles currently have three adopted children, pictured above, and one foster child living with them in their west Pickens home.
    By a slim 3-2 margin, the Jasper City Council refused to grant a rezoning request that could have brought an industrial manufacturing plant to a parcel at Cornett Lane South and Highway 515. Jasper resident Tim Snow, owner of Access Concrete Products out of Dalton, submitted the rezoning application to the city on November 11,

Kaila’s Birthday Wish

12-year-old wants help for sick kids instead of presents





By Brandi Strawn

     Meet my daughter Kaila, she is 12 years old. She is currently a 7th grader at Jasper Middle school. She will be turning 13 in February. When I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday she said she wanted to raise money for the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital instead of receiving presents this year. As her mom I was so proud of her to suggest such a selfless thing at her age.