I was grocery shopping the other day with my husband and saw some delicious looking caramel apples and commented that I couldn't wait to buy one and sink my teeth into it, something I've not done in years. Now, I've changed my mind.

I don't mean to scare you or anything, but seven people died from a Listeria outbreak caused by caramel apples and 35 other people got incredibly sick. Obviously, this outbreak was last year, but experts caution us that we should be extra careful this year and in years to come.

Why did seven people die after eating caramel apples? Well, a study found it's because the caramel gives bacteria an insulated layer for breeding.

The study in the journal mBio says that the growth of listeria bacteria is most likely connected to the sticks used to dip the apples, and also suggests that how the caramel apples are stores plays a big part in the increased risk of listeria developing inside of them.

The University of Wisconsin decided to dig deep and found that dipping an apple in hot caramel doesn't kill all the bacteria on its skin. In fact, it adds a nice insulated layer for bacteria to grow and multiply and get this- it's especially bad if the apples are kept refrigerated for a long time after they're made.

So, here's what to do if you just have to have a caramel apple- wash your apple really well before you dip it in caramel and then eat it right away. Once your apples have been sitting in caramel for a week or longer, there's a good chance they could become infected with listeria.

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