Juice and its Safety
is nothing like having a big glass of freshly squeezed fruit
juice as a part of a healthy and nutritious breakfast. However,
are you willing to take a chance with unpasteurized juice in
your daily diet?
There have been several confirmed
cases of Salmonella serotype Muenchen reported in
the United States and Canada. The illness is associated with
drinking unpasteurized orange juice. In the summer of 1999,
fruit juice produced by a company in Arizona was recalled by
the United States Food and Drug Administration. The non-pasteurized
juice was distributed to retail stores and restaurants through
the United States and the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia
under private labels. Also recalled was fresh margarita mix
with fresh orange juice in half-gallon containers from the same
Salmonella Muenchen is
one of approximately 2,400 serotypes of Salmonella that
causes illness in people. Every year, approximately 800,000
to four million cases of Salmonella result in 500 deaths
in the United States. Children are the most likely to get Salmonella.
Young children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are the
most likely to have severe infections. Symptoms of Salmonella
include diarrhea, high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea
and abdominal cramps that develop 12 to 72 hours after infection.
Long-term complications can include severe arthritis. The illness
usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without
treatment. Salmonella passes from the feces of people
or animals to other people or other animals.
When fruit and vegetables are
processed into juice, harmful bacteria that may be present can
become part of the finished product. Most juices in the United
States (98 percent) are pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.
The other 2 percent of unpasteurized juice or cider may contain
harmful bacteria that make some people sick.
Since November 1999, the United
States Food and Drug Administration requires that all unpasteurized
juice display a warning label for all juice products. The label
will bear a 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."
For this, or any
food-safety-related information, please
contact the Bureau of Consumer Health
Services at 713/794-9200.
the HDHHS Bureau of Consumer Health Services