This is the perfect time of year to make all sorts of savory treats with apples. One of the most delicious, but messy snacks is the caramel apple. These two flavor combinations are just amazing, but a recent study has shown that there is a potential danger when making these tasty treats.

A recent study done by Kathleen Glass and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that there may be a connection between caramel apples and the dangerous bacteria, Listeria. This dangerous infection can cause terrible stomach aches, in some cases cause miscarriages and stillbirths, and in cases of older people or young children it may cause death.

The researchers believe that the juice from the apples after the wooden sticks are inserted into them is where the bacteria can grow. According to an NBC News article,

"No growth of L. monocytogenes occurred on refrigerated caramel apples without sticks, whereas slow growth was observed on refrigerated caramel apples with sticks," they wrote.

"In contrast, significant pathogen growth was observed within three days at room temperature on caramel apples with sticks inserted."

The recommendations that come from this study include extra washing and disinfecting of apples used to make the caramel apples. Also, make sure you keep them refrigerated if they are going to be stored for a long time. It is probably also a good idea to cover the apples in caramel and only insert the stick when you are ready to eat them.

For more details on Listeria monocytogenes visit the CDC Website.