E. Coli Outbreak In Maryland May Be Linked To Apple Cider

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the state of Maryland, and Baugher Enterprise are warning consumers to avoid Baugher’s Apple Cider over concern that the cider may be related to outbreak of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/food_poisoning">E. coli infections.

Baugher Enterprise reports that the cider is distributed throughout Maryland and in the Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania. The FDA said that Baugher’s Apple Cider in half gallon and gallon containers, offered for sale in Maryland and Pennsylvania, is preliminarily linked with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections. Consumers who have any of this cider should not drink it and should dispose of the cider in a manner that prevents people or animals, including wild animals, from consuming the contaminated cider.

Most people infected with E. coli O157:H7 develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps, but some illnesses may last longer and can be more severe. While most people recover within a week, some may develop a severe infection. Rarely, as symptoms of diarrhea improve, a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur; this can happen at any age, but is most common in children under five years old and in older adults. People with HUS should be hospitalized immediately, as their kidneys may stop working and they may be at risk for other serious health problems.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and local health departments are conducting an investigation into a cluster of seven E. coli O157:H7 infections. A potential association exists with the consumption of unpasteurized Baugher’s Apple Cider. However, no contamination has been confirmed. As of Thursday, November 4, 2010, seven persons infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from Maryland since October 22. There have been three reported hospitalizations, one possible case of HUS, and no deaths.

In response to the ongoing investigation, Baugher’s Orchard & Farm of Westminster, Maryland issued a voluntary recall of all apple cider; however, at this time, no other Baugher’s products are affected by this recall.

Anyone who experienced signs of E. coli O157:H7 infection should contact his/her health care provider immediately. Health care providers should report any suspected infection to state or local public health authorities right away.

The FDA, DHMH, and Baugher Enterprise are working together on the investigation. Initial public notification was made by DHMH on November 4, 2010. FDA and the DHMH will continue to update the public with more information as soon as it is available. The FDA, in conjunction with the DHMH, has initiated an investigation at the Baugher Enterprise production facility. In addition, Baugher Enterprise has voluntarily recalled the cider from its distributors. 

Consumers who have purchased Baugher’s Apple Cider are urged to discard the product and contact the place of purchase, providing the receipt, for a full refund. Baugher’s can be reached at 410-848-5541 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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