Health & Medicine

High Hill Ranch recalls unpasteurized apple juice

At the height of tourist season for Apple Hill farms, El Dorado County public health officials announced Friday that High Hill Ranch in Camino has initiated a voluntary recall of its unpasteurized apple juice because of suspected contamination, likely with the E. coli bacteria.

Health officials are warning consumers to not drink it and to dispose of any unpasteurized apple juice purchased from High Hill Ranch on or after Oct. 6.

The Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services notified the El Dorado County Environmental Management and Public Health divisions this week of at least seven cases of E. coli illnesses among Sacramento County residents who consumed unpasteurized apple juice from High Hill Ranch in mid-October. The apple juice was consumed at home or at High Hill Ranch. One person has been hospitalized and is expected to recover, according to an El Dorado County news release.

The El Dorado County Environmental Management and Public Health divisions and the California Department of Public Health are working with the High Hill Ranch management to determine the source of the potential contamination. High Hill Ranch has pulled the product from the shelves.

Jerry and Michelle Visman of High Hill Ranch issued a written statement saying that, due to health concerns, the free samples they have offered potential juice buyers at their ranch have been discontinued.

“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 be sure that the good track record continues,” they said.

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.

The El Dorado County Environmental Management Division conducts routine inspections of food establishments in El Dorado County. For questions about the recall at High Hill Ranch, call the Environmental Management Division at 530-621-5300.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy