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BERA - Malaysia has stopped the import of two brands of apples from California because of fears that they could be tainted with the Listeriosis bacteria, reported Malaysian media.

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The Philippines, too, has issued advisories recalling imported Gala and Granny Smith apples from the US, reported Xinhua news agency.

Bidart Bros said the last shipment date of the affected apples was on Dec 2, reported Los Angeles Times.

The ministry's director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry had identified two importers of the apples in Malaysia, and had directed them to recall the apples.

Consumption of food tainted with the bacteria could cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea and in severe cases, death.

Agriculture minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the ministry had received a notice from the US authorities that the Gala red apples and Granny Smith green apples from California were suspected to be contaminated with the bacteria, reported New Straits Times.

"The ministry will stop the import of the affected apples while the Health Ministry will check those already in the local market," he said on Saturday.

The affected apples were sold under the names Big Big and Granny’s Best, but the company says they could also be sold under other brand names, or with no name.

Consumers were being advised to ask fruit sellers if their Granny Smith or Gala apples came from Bidart Bros.

The US Food and Drug Administration found two strains of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes listeriosis, at the company's processing plant in Bakersfield.