Blame consumers: Unpasteurized cider edition

As a Michigan cider mill became the latest to have its product test positive for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli, a statement has emerged from the owners of the California state cider producer linked to at least seven E. coli O157 illnesses.

high.hill.ciderJerry & Michelle Visman, the owners of High Hill Ranch, in the community of Camino in El Dorado County wrote:

“It was recently brought to our attention by the health department that in mid-October, some people reported getting sick after visiting our ranch. We are very sorry for this. There is some speculation that it may have been caused by drinking the apple juice.

We have always offered free samples at our juice-making facility, so that the people could try the juice before buying it.

Unfortunately, hundreds of people touch the filler nozzle everyday to fill the sample cups. With so many people getting sick this time of the year this very well could have spread a virus to the sample jug. We regret that for health concerns, the free samples will have to discontinue.

 We are also having the juice tested as a precaution to make absolutely sure all is well, because after making juice for 50 years and not having any complaints, we want to make sure that the good track record continues.”

It’s a bacterium, not a virus, and why were you letting hundreds of people touch the juice noozle everyday?

In Michigan, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a consumer advisory for Uncle John’s Old Fashioned Apple Cider produced by Uncle John’s Cider Mill located at 8614 US-127 in St. Johns, MI, because it has the potential to be contaminated. Consumers who have purchased this product at Uncle John’s Cider Mill are urged not to consume it and dispose of the product immediately.

Uncle John’s Old Fashioned Apple CiderA routine, random sample collected by an MDARD food inspector tested positive for Shiga-toxin producing E. coli by the department’s Geagley Laboratory. No illnesses have been reported to date. Uncle John’s has voluntarily ceased sales of cider awaiting further test results.

This advisory affects approximately 1,200 gallons of cider produced on October 17. The cider was sold at the cider mill from the retail cooler, packaged in various sized plastic jugs with a sell by date of October 30, 2015; or served directly to consumers by the cup as cold cider, frozen cider slushes and hot cider, from October 18 through October 21.