Uncle John's Cider Mill Resumes Apple Cider Sales after Contamination

Uncle John's Cider Mill Resumes Apple Cider Sales after Contamination

ST. JOHN'S - Uncle John's Cider Mill has started back selling their popular cider after dealing with an E. coli contamination.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, MDARD, announced yesterday that the E. Coli producing bacteria Shiga-toxin was found in potentially 1,200 gallons of cider at the mill. After this was announced, Uncle John's ceased the sell of all cider and decided to run tests of their own.

Mike Beck, the co-owner and cider maker at Uncle John's, said all of the cider in question was sold before they knew a problem existed. He said all of the cider that currently exists at the mill has tested negative.

"We have tested the other cider and it's all coming back negative, so why not sell it," Beck said.

Beck said no customers have expressed anger to the cider mill. In fact, most patrons anticipated the continued sell of the apple cider.

"Most people have been wanting to know if their cider is okay to drink or exchange it for new cider when it's available," Beck said.

Refunds have been issued to customers who have requested. However, Beck said most customers rather just keep drinking the cider.

"Most people would rather drink the cider that they have quite frankly because nobody makes better cider than us," Beck said. "It just tastes so good that you don't really want to throw something good away."

The cider that tested positive for E. coli was produced on Oct. 17. It was collected from Uncle John's during a routine random sample on Oct. 19 by MDARD.

MDARD returned to do further testing Tuesday to determine what strand of the virus was found in the cider.

MDARD director of communications Jennifer Holton said running these test are very necessary for the safety of the consumers.

"It's important for the department and the producer to know what strand of bacteria was found," Holton said. "It's a part of our overall process it's called stereotyping. This lets us know what strand were working with and it lets us do genetic fingerprinting so we can know what type of issue there may be associated with it."

Holton said MDARD does not have enough information to issue a recall on the cider. However, a consumer advisory was placed on the cider and it has not yet been lifted.

MSU student Aditya Voruganti bought cider from Uncle John's three days before the contamination was found.

Although many consumers have continued to patronize the cider mill he said there's a slim chance he'll be returning. He also expressed concern with how soon their cider went back on the shelves.

"I would definitely like to know what they've changed to ensure that their cider is safe instead of them just running a second test on it," Voruganti said.

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