Farm owner charged for selling contaminated apple cider
James Willard Ruster, who owns and operates Mitchell Hill Farm in Ellsworth, is facing two felony food law violations for selling bad apple cider.
According to the police report, a state health inspector observed Ruster selling unpasteurized cider and pear juice at a farm market in Boyne City in October 2011.
They say Ruster continued to sell his cider even after warning him about the violations.
In late October through November 2012, four patients went to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
All of the patients consumed cider from Mitchell Hill Farm. Three of the patients tested positive for E.coli.
On November 7, 2012, officials with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development searched the farm and found dried food and dried food residue.
They took samples of cider that tested positive for E.coli.
If convicted, Ruster faces up to eight years behind bars.