Kershaw, Cook & Talley is representing people who became ill after consuming unpasteurized apple cider from the High Hill Ranch at Apple Hill in Camino, California. Officials from the El Dorado County Health Department have visited the Ranch and have taken numerous samples from the facility where it is suspected that the bacteria, Escherichia coli (E.Coli), infected several patrons who became sick. So far, one individual was hospitalized as a result of the infection.
According to the Food Safety News, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned the public over risks associated with drinking fresh cider this fall. According to the report, “Outbreaks of foodborne illness have recently been traced to unpasteurized cider and fruit and vegetable juices…[w]ithout pasteurization, or some other treatment to kill bacteria, pathogens can end up in the juice or cider.”
The article further states, “These products should be kept refrigerated and are required to carry a warning on the label that reads: “WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems. FDA doesn’t require warning labels on juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass at apple orchards, roadside stands or farmers markets.”
Unpasteurized products, such as apple cider or raw milk, carry a risk of contamination with E. Coli bacteria and other pathogenic bacteria. The pasteurization process (if done correctly) applies heat to eliminate pathogenic microbes in food and liquids.
Fox News and KCRA interviewed Jerry and Michelle Visman, the owners of High Hill Ranch, who placed the blame on customers. This statement from High Hill Ranch was released to the public:
“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 every day 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. Most people have probably already drank the juice they brought but our friends at the health department think it prudent to discard what’s left. The testing will be done in short order on our juice. Until then, we have the excellent Barsotti Apple juice along with all their other great products.”
Thank You, Jerry & Michelle Visman
If you became ill after visiting the High Hill Ranch at Apple Hill in Camino, California, please contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley. For a free and confidential case consultation, call an attorney toll-free at (888) 997-5170. We would be happen to speak with you about any claims you may have and explain your legal rights.