Fall fairytale: Lawsuit filed after crypto-in-apple-cider sickened more than 100 in 2015

In Oct. 2015, fall festival revellers flocked to the Pike Country Color Drive in Pike County, Illinois, and a bunch of them were soon barfing.

Unpasteurized apple cider – a staple of the northern U.S. and Canadian fall festival circuit was blamed for causing more than 100 people to fall ill with cryptosporidiosis.

Nick Draper of My Journal Courier reports a lawsuit has now been files against several groups, including the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Barry Business Association.

Melissa Kinman of Quincy filed the civil action against Steven and Linda Yoder of Yoder Brothers Dairy Farm, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Barry Business Association. In it, she contends the Yoders were selling and offering free samples of unpasteurized cider that was tainted with Cryptosporidium.

The outbreak sickened people ranging in age from less than 1 year old to 89 years old.

Health workers from Pike and Adams counties, the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating reports of profuse or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting. Tests done in December 2015 by the CDC confirmed there was cider contaminated with Cryptosporidium.

Cider was not sold at last year’s drive after officials decided to pull the product.

A list of cider and juice-related outbreaks — 84 outbreaks leading to over 3,500 illnesses going back to 1924 – is available here.

http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Juice-related-outbreaks-11-5-15.xlsx

A safe food Halloween

No food safety dramas for us in Brisbane (unlike those at the cider mill in Kansas, more about that later), but thanks to our Alaskan hockey-playing friend Andy and his family for their annual party.

doug-andy-hockey-oct-16I decided to go as a hybrid of the two things hockey players hate most — a goaltender and a linesmen (now that I have my stripes) — while Andy opted for the more traditional Jason-approach.

amy-sorenne-halloween-oct-16The girls went traditional goth — Amy was a bloody baker while Sorenne had some spider thing going on — and, proving some of my genes did get transmitted down the family line, grandson Emerson went as a robot with a pail oh his head.

emerson-halloween-16

13 sick with E. coli from apple cider in California

The El Dorado County HealthDepartment says unpasteurized juice from High Hill Ranch has tested positive for E-coli.

high.hill.ciderHealth officials say 13 people got sick after drinking the juice. It’s unclear how the juice became contaminated.

High Hill voluntarily discontinued the production and sale of the juice dated on or after Oct. 6, 2015.

Here are the dates of the investigation:

On October 23, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services says there were at least seven cases of E. coli illness among residents of Sacramento County who consumed unpasteurized apple juice either sampled at or purchased from High Hill Ranch between October 10 and October 12, 2015.

On October 23, High Hill Ranch voluntarily discontinued the processing, sale and distribution of unpasteurized apple juice currently in stock. Unpasteurized apple juice was replaced with a flash  pasteurized apple juice product produced and bottled by another local vendor.

On October 23, the County of El Dorado issued a press release advising the public of a voluntary recall of unpasteurized apple juice initiated by High Hill Ranch due to suspected contamination with bacteria, likely a strain of E. coli. Consumers were advised not to consume unpasteurized apple juice purchased on or after October 6, 2015, and to dispose of any remaining product.

On October 29, the California Department of Public Health notified the County that there were 13 ill patients associated with the consumption of unpasteurized apple juice from High Hill Ranch. Three of these patients were laboratory confirmed with E. coli. Two additional patients were subsequently confirmed to have E. coli. 
On October 30, High Hill Ranch notified the County that they had submitted samples of unpasteurized apple juice to an independent laboratoryfor testing for E. coli. The juice samples tested were from a separate and subsequent production run after the suspected processing period that may have contained harmful bacteria.

On November 4, the County was notified by the CDPH that a sample of unpasteurized juice obtained from one of the ill Sacramento County patients had tested positive for E. coli.

On November 5, the County was notified by the CDPH that all laboratory samples collected from High Hill Ranch on October 21, by CDPH were negative for the presence of E. coli.

High Hill Ranch has voluntarily discontinued the production and sale of unpasteurized apple juice indefinitely. No other High Hill Ranch products are being investigated. High Hill Ranch continues to fully cooperate with local and state health officials during this ongoing investigation.
A table of juice-related outbreaks is available at: http://barfblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Juice-related-outbreaks-11-5-15.xlsx

Ciders and juices can cause illnesses; here’s a big list

Every fall since 2010 there’s been at least one juice or cider related outbreak in North America. Some beverages were pasteurized, many weren’t. CiderPic1Right now there are two outbreaks linked to unpasteurized ciders in California and Illinois.

Here’s a list of all the ones we’ve been able to find (going back to 1924) – 84 outbreaks leading to over 3500 illnesses.

Click here to download the entire list.

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7 sick: E. coli O111 in apple cider linked to illness in Calif.

I don’t like being the Debbie Downer of food safety, but I also don’t like little kids getting sick when it’s preventable.

powell_kids_ge_sweet_corn_cider_00That’s why me and Chapman always escort our kids on visits to the farm (microbiologically dodgy areas).

California health types have confirmed that apple juice from High Hill Ranch at Apple Hill tested positive for E. coli O111.

Greg Stanton, of the health department, told KCRA 3 the first test result came back and was positive.

The juice from High Hill Ranch was dated Oct. 11, Staton said.

He added that results from two other samples are still pending.

There is a document circulating on social media that appears to show negative lab results for the juice. However, those are not the same results released by the El Dorado County Environmental Health.

KCRA 3 has reached out to High Hill Ranch owner Jerry Visman for an explanation of what the test involved.

The results come less than two weeks after High Hill Ranch announced it was voluntarily recalling its unpasteurized apple juice because of seven cases of E. coli illness among Sacramento County residents.

Health officials said the people consumed the unpasteurized apple juice in mid-October. The juice was consumed at home or at High Hill Ranch. One person was hospitalized and was expected to recover

Cider again? 6 sick with crypto linked to Illinois fair

After attending the same event in Barry, Illinois, Oct. 17, Adams County Health Department says there’s been an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis disease in Pike County, Illinois.

pike.county.fall.color.driveAdams County Health Department Director of Clinical and Environmental Services Shay Drummond says the health department is helping Pike County Health Department investigate the parasitic illness that has infected six people.

County Health Department RN, BSN Jan Bleich says everyone infected had been at the Pike County Fall Color Drive. The source, she says, may have been apple cider.

Bleich says some of the people were hospitalized.

Drummond says the disease is caused by microscopic parasites called cryptosporidium, which is found in water, food, soil or on surfaces or dirty hands that have been contaminated with human or animal feces that are infected.

Cryptosporidium can be spread by swallowing contaminated water from swimming pools, fountains, lakes and rivers. The parasite can survive for long periods of time in chlorinated drinking and swimming pool water. It can also be spread by swallowing water, ice or drinks contaminated with poop from infected people or animals, or by eating undercooked food or drinking unpasteurized or raw apple cider or milk that is contaminated. People can also get it from touching their mouths with contaminated hands.

Unpasteurized raw milk being blamed for illness that sickened dozens of Wisconsin students

A friend posted on facebook how much she enjoyed the visit to the apple cider mill – a fall tradition.

colbert.raw.milkI asked if the cider was pasteurized.

She said yes.

Good.

Not so good for the Durand High School in Wisconsin where a parent provided  unpasteurized raw milk for a team football dinner

Eight students were hospitalized, and nearly 150 middle and high school students stayed home to avoid getting sick. 

State health officials say it was Campylobacter that caused the illness, and the health department said Friday that it likely came from unpasteurized raw milk.

E. coli O157 in Michigan cider in 2012 leads to conviction

After nearly two years of investigation and legal action, James Ruster, owner of Mitchell Hill Farm in Ellsworth, was sentenced Feb. 18 for one felony violation of Michigan’s Food Law, the first felony conviction under this law.

Ruster pled guilty to willful misbranding and adulteration of food products and was sentenced to 14 to 48 months in prison plus fines and court costs.

“It’s paramount that we maintain the safety of Michigan’s food and agriculture products. Ruster showed a blatant neglect for not only the safety of his food products, but the health powell_kids_ge_sweet_corn_cider_00of his customers. It’s tragic that people were so greatly impacted by his willful disregard for food safety rules and regulations,” said Jamie Clover Adams, MDARD director.

Clover Adams stressed this incident in no way reflects the integrity and food safety record of apple cider producers who are licensed and use good manufacturing practices (GMPs) to produce safe, wholesome cider.

“No foodborne illness outbreaks have been associated with cider producers following the GMPs or meeting the requirements of the law. Michigan’s apple industry as a whole works closely with regulators to make sure production practices use the best science available to keep products safe,” Clover Adams said. “It is unfortunate that it takes a case like this to point out the potential for harm from producing food items in an unsafe manner.”

A MDARD food inspector investigated a consumer tip that Ruster was selling apple cider at a local farmers market in October 2011. Mitchell Hill Farm had been previously licensed as a maple syrup producer, but it was not approved to produce cider. After repeatedly being informed that he wasn’t meeting safe cider production standards, Ruster continued to make and sell cider.

MDARD received notification of an outbreak associated with Ruster’s cider on Nov. 6, 2012. Subsequent investigation by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, MDARD and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) determined the improperly processed cider caused an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak putting four individuals in the hospital, including two children. Several individuals affected by the outbreak continue to report symptoms today, more than a year after consuming the cider.

E. coli cases in Michigan may be linked to apple cider

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is working with the Michigan Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Community Health to determine whether multiple local illnesses may be linked to the consumption of unlabeled, unpasteurized apple cider.

An investigation is underway into a possible link between several E. coli cases and apple cider in Antrim County.

Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria have been detected in stool samples from several Antrim County residents who developed severe intestinal illness and diarrhea during the past two weeks. Samples have also been collected to determine whether these cases may be linked to unpasteurized apple cider that was produced locally by an unlicensed facility and without the warning labels required by law for unpasteurized products.

According to Joshua Meyerson, M.D., Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, apple cider – whether pasteurized or unpasteurized – should be obtained only from licensed facilities or vendors.

A table of fresh juice-related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/fresh-juice-outbreaks.

Unpasteurized juices still risky

My hockey equipment is covered in pigeon poop.

Or so I’m told by my friend Steve, who has organized pick-up hockey in Guelph for decades, and in whose barn my equipment has sat since 2006.

I never had fancy equipment; I bought my goalie pads off a 12-year-old whose parents were apparently more affluent than I.

But I could sell them for four times their value in Australia, where hockey exists, and Canadians always return with a bag full of gear, because it costs so much less in North America.

With Sorenne about to turn four-years-old, it’s time to introduce her to the ice – and there’s a rink in Brisbane. And with us returning to the U.S. for Dec. and Jan., the time was right to salvage what was left of my equipment and get some stuff for Sorenne.

Steve says he only found one of my skates.

Steve also works in government.

While driving to Florida this week, Steve took some of my equipment to Chapman in North Carolina (or mailed it) because I’ll see Chapman for a meeting about our shiga-toxic producing E. coli research.

While driving down the North Carolina coast, Steve stopped at this roadside market for some ol’ timey apple cider; unpasteurized cider has been the source of many an outbreak of foodborne illness.

Steve thought the name of the market was particularly apt.

A table of fresh juice-related outbreaks is available at http://bites.ksu.edu/fresh-juice-outbreaks.