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E. coli bacteria confirmed in Apple Hill ranch juice

Unpasteurized apple juice from High Hills Ranch contained bacteria that sickened several people, officials have confirmed.
Unpasteurized apple juice from High Hills Ranch contained bacteria that sickened several people, officials have confirmed. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

El Dorado County officials on Wednesday confirmed the presence of E. coli bacteria in a batch of unpasteurized apple juice from High Hill Ranch that sickened several customers.

High Hill Ranch in Camino voluntarily recalled the juice products dated on or after Oct. 6 after officials suspected the batch was tainted. Greg Stanton, director of the environmental management division for El Dorado’s Community Development Agency, said E. coli was found in one sample that was submitted to a state lab for testing.

E. coli symptoms typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover within five to seven days.

The incident comes at the height of tourist season for the storied Apple Hill farms, which draw people from Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Officials have “visited the other ranches in Apple Hill that do produce unpasteurized juice and have evaluated their operations,” Stanton said. “They are operating satisfactorily.”

Stanton declined to say how the contamination occurred because the investigation is ongoing.

 

E. coli is caused by the Escherichia coli bacteria. People can get sick when they consume food or drink that is contaminated by the bacteria. Symptoms of E. coli illness typically include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes a low-grade fever. The symptoms usually occur within three to four days after exposure but can occur between one and 12 days after exposure, health officials said.

Most people who become ill from E. coli recover within five to seven days. Those who become ill are advised to rest and drink plenty of liquids. For severe cases, particularly in children, elderly people or those with underlying health problems, a health care provider should be consulted.

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