FDA Encourages Juice Safety This Fall
As fall arrives, so do drives in the country and drinking fresh-squeezed juices and cider. Unfortunately, serious outbreaks of foodborne illness, also called food poisoning, have been traced to drinking fruit and vegetable juices and cider that have not been processed to kill harmful bacteria. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reminds consumers to read the label carefully on juice or cider products they purchase.
Juices provide many important nutrients, but consuming certain types of juice can pose health risks to your family. When fruits and vegetables are fresh-squeezed to produce juice, bacteria that may be present on the inside or the outside of the produce can become part of the finished product. Unless the produce or juice has been processed to destroy any harmful bacteria, the juice could be contaminated. While most people’s immune systems can usually fight off the effects of foodborne illness, children, older adults, pregnant women, transplant recipients, and people with weakened immune systems (such as individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease) risk serious illnesses or even death from drinking juice that has not been processed to ensure its safety.
Most of the juice sold in the United States is pasteurized (heat-treated) to kill harmful bacteria. Juice products may also be treated by non-heat processes for the same purpose. However, some grocery stores, health food stores, cider mills, and farm markets sell packaged juice that was made on site that has not been pasteurized or otherwise processed to ensure its safety. These untreated products should be kept under refrigeration and are required to carry the following warning on the label:
WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
FDA does not require warning labels on juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass, such as at apple orchards, farm markets, roadside stands, or in some restaurants or juice bars. If you or someone you care for is at risk for foodborne illness, avoid all juice that has not been pasteurized or otherwise processed to ensure its safety. If you cannot determine if a juice has been processed to destroy harmful bacteria, either do not drink it or bring it to a boil to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.
Foodborne Illness: Be Aware of the Symptoms
Symptoms of foodborne illness usually appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, but may occur between 30 minutes and 4 weeks later. Symptoms of foodborne illness include: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody), abdominal pain, and flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache. If you or someone in your family experiences these symptoms, contact your physician or healthcare provider right away!
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