Officials say apple cider is safe to enjoy

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — Apple cider seekers shouldn’t be deterred this fall by what one expert is calling a unique, isolated incident of tainted cider in St. Johns. “The recent events at Uncle John’s are very unusual and very rare for our apple cider industry in Michigan,” said Bob Tritten, an MSU Extension fruit educator who has worked with cider mills  for nearly 30 years. “Cider has had a safe track record over the last 15, 20, years and this is an isolated incident.”
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a consumer advisory for  Uncle John’s Cider Mill on Oct. 27 after finding Shiga-toxin producing E. coli bacteria during a random department inspection.

Poor apple crop hits workers, growers

By LAUREN GIBBONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — As apple growers statewide struggle to make up for losses, experts say the economic ramifications of one of the toughest crop years in history could have negative long-term effect. Last spring, Michigan’s orchards were devastated by a series of weather anomalies that caused many trees to bloom weeks ahead of normal, causing the fragile blooms to die in the frosts that followed. Growers still are harvesting the crop, but estimates indicate they’ll oreap about 3 million bushels of apples statewide — millions below the average 26 million, Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Diane Smith said. The crop has decimated an industry normally worth about $120 million a year. Taking into account losses incurred by suppliers, workers and chemical providers, the loss is even more devastating, said Amy Irish-Brown, an MSU Extension educator specializing in commercial tree fruit in Southwest Michigan.