Oshkosh to Green Bay and apple cider

While watching Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings lose to the Green Bay Packers last night (for about 5 minutes), and while wondering if Brett was a naughty boy with those text messages (for about 12 seconds), the Sunday Night Football broadcast crew paid homage to fall in Wisconsin with apple cider.

A series of vignettes showed a dude with a small apple press, lovingly grinding up the apples and them pressing the pulp into cider. Yummy. But I prefer mine mulled, pasteurized or fermented.

Unpasteurized cider strikes again; six sick in Iowa

In the fall of 1998, I accompanied one of my four daughters on a kindergarten trip to the farm. After petting the animals and touring the crops –I questioned the fresh manure on the strawberries –we were assured that all the food produced was natural.

We then returned for unpasteurized apple cider. The host served the cider in a coffee urn, heated, so my concern about it being unpasteurized was abated. I asked: "Did you serve the cider heated because you heard about other outbreaks and were concerned about liability?" She responded, "No. The stuff starts to smell when it’s a few weeks old and heating removes the smell."

I repeat this story because it appears that several children have become sick with E. coli O157:H7 after consuming unpasteurized apple cider in Iowa.

As reported by The Hawk Eye, the number of confirmed E. coli cases in the area has grown to six, and it appears that unpasteurized apple cider is the culprit.

Patricia Quinlisk, medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health, has said the source of a communicable disease will not be released unless it poses an immediate health risk to the public. The department has "made recommendations in the last several weeks" to prevent further cases of the disease, she said. …

Kaden Althide of Basco, Ill., and 7-year-old TiAhnna Bryant of Donnellson, said they believe their children encountered the disease from the same source during the weekend of Oct.4. …

For more than two weeks, both children have endured almost daily dialysis and surgeries, blood transfusions and ultrasounds, among other things. …

The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a press release Tuesday encouraging Iowans to avoid consuming unpasteurized juices and ciders because they can be linked with outbreaks of disease.