The apples contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes were exclusively produced by the California-based Bidart Bros Company, confirmed the US Embassy in a working session with the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Hanoi on January 22.

Nearly 90 percent of the US apples imported by Vietnam are sourced from the State of Washington, said the department.

The US Embassy in Vietnam will continue providing information and working closely with relevant agencies for any possible contaminated apples to be recalled.

Currently, the department is still reviewing the issue and will be asking Vietnamese importers of US apples to check for any possible links with Bidart Bros.

Director of the department Nguyen Xuan Hong said as many as 1,200 tonnes of apples have been imported from the US since the beginning of this year.

Vietnam bought 17,000 tonnes of apples from the US since the beginning of 2014.

All relevant agencies have been asked to increase monitoring efforts at border gates and practice additional scrutiny towards any apples imported from the US as from January 21, he added.

Previously, the Vietnam Food Administration issued a warning and called for inspections of local businesses importing pre-packaged caramel apples from the US.

The apples have reportedly killed at least three people in the US and hospitalised 30 others due to infections from the listeria monocytogenes virus.

According to the Plant Protection Department, the pre-packaged caramel apples from the US have not yet been imported into Vietnam.-VNA