Apple Cider Concerns After Case of Crypto - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Apple Cider Concerns After Case of Crypto

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By: Claire Powell


A parasite has made 11 people in eastern Iowa sick after drinking an unknown brand of unpasteurized apple cider. 

Cryptosporidium is a bacteria spread through oral-fecal matter from animals or humans. It can cause severe abdominal pain and diarrhea for days or weeks.

Other Iowa orchards are worried that the contained-case in Johnston County making their consumers skeptical about buying more cider.

"If the apple then falls to the ground it can become contaminated and you pick it up and smash it and make apple cider, you now have that parasite in the cider," said Doctor Patricia Quinlisk, Iowa Department of Public Health.

If apple cider is pasteurized, it usually kills the bacteria. But in some cases, if it's not cooled quickly enough, bacteria can still grow.  

"If it's not cooled down to a temperature that stops bacteria from growing, then you can get sick from the bacteria," said Dr. Quinlisk.

Like many orchards, Iowa Orchard does not pasteurize their cider because it affects the natural flavors. They said they never use apples that have been on the ground and they make sure the process of making their cider is sanitary.  

"Both are completely safe if followed correctly. For unpasteurized cider, never use apples off of the ground and we absolutely do not use apples off the ground for our cider," said Bryan Etchen, owner of Iowa Orchard.

The orchard is inspected by the FDA, Polk County and the state of Iowa on a yearly basis. Etchen says the best way to know where your product has been, is to ask.  

"They should definitely ask the grower how the product is made to make sure it's a fresh, clean and sanitized product," said Etchen.

For consumers still skeptical about cider, but not willing to give it up, there's one more option.

"One of the things you can do, if you like to buy fresh unpasteurized cider, go ahead buy it and heat it up yourself at home. Then again, you've killed all the bad stuff and can drink it safely," said Dr. Quinlisk.  

"If someone is following the rules and is inspected properly, they should be making a perfect product, like we do, and have no pathogens in their product," said Etchen.  


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