The sight of falling leaves and the feel of crisp autumn air brings on the craving for apple cider and pumpkin-flavored food. While enjoying these treats can be tasty; careful consideration on choosing pasteurized cider, can limit outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

Without pasteurization, bacteria can end up in the cider. Outbreaks of foodborne illness have been traced to unpasteurized cider and fruit and vegetable juices.

Consuming dangerous foodborne bacteria will usually cause illness within one to three days of eating the contaminated food. But sickness can also occur within 20 minutes or up to six weeks later.

Symptoms of foodborne illness include: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms (such as fever, headache and body aches). If you think that you or a family member has a foodborne illness, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems are at particular risk for serious illnesses, and even death, caused by these harmful microorganisms.

The FDA advises people to look for the warning label to avoid purchasing untreated cider and not to hesitate to ask if a juice product is treated if the labeling is unclear or if the cider is sold by the glass.

If you have any questions concerning unpasteurized cider, please call Mesa County Public Health at (970) 248-6900.