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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

“A Lawsuit a Day, keeps E. coli Away” Suit filed against Baugher’s Orchard

Screen shot 2010-11-10 at 2.41.42 PM.pngAn E. coli lawsuit was filed today against Baugher’s Orchard and Farm, the Westminster, Maryland farm that recalled its unpasteurized apple cider products after they were identified by Maryland public health authorities as the source of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak among at least 7 state residents. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Baltimore resident Nicholas Fickel.  Mr. Fickel visited Baugher’s Orchard and Farm in Westminster on October 17. While there, he consumed samples of Baugher’s unpasteurized apple cider and purchased cider to take home with him. On October 21, Mr. Fickel became ill with symptoms of E. coli infection, including painful stomach cramping and bloody diarrhea. He sought medical treatment for his worsening illness on October 22. A stool sample submitted for lab testing at that time tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, which was also isolated from 6 other Maryland residents who had consumed the Baugher’s unpasteurized apple cider.

Apple cider and other fruit and vegetable juices can be contaminated with E. coli before processing. E. coli outbreaks have been traced to fresh apple cider even when steps such as brushing and washing apples have been taken to reduce the opportunity for bacterial contamination. The use of “down” apples, or apples that have fallen to the ground before being harvested, is a risk factor for E. coli contamination since animals – like deer – that shed E. coli can forage for food in orchard areas and fruit can fall in animal feces as it drops from trees.

  • Carl Custer

    I’d be it’s not just downer apples.
    I don’t have a paper showing a link, but there are papers showing that flies carry fecal borne pathogens and then deposit the pathogens on other surfaces.
    So, if you have deer in an orchard, and flies are attracted to the feces, well . . .
    Oh, IIRC Baugher’s has some cows out back.
    Anyway given the deer and dairies in the vicinity, washing and sanitizing apples-for-cider would be critical. Failure to be scrupulous in the wash may be their problem.
    Need pictures?