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Surprising Facts About Fruit Juice from the FDA

Juices provide many essential nutrients, but consuming untreated juices can pose health risks to your family. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received reports of serious outbreaks of food borne illness that have been traced to drinking fruit and vegetable juice and cider that has not been treated to kill harmful bacteria.

While most people’s immune systems can usually fight off the effects of food borne illness, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems risk serious illnesses or even death from drinking untreated juices.

Warning Labels
Since 1999, the FDA has required juice manufacturers to place warning information on product containers about the health risks of drinking untreated juice or cider. Only a small portion of all fruit and vegetable juices sold in supermarkets is not treated to kill harmful bacteria. These products are required to carry the following 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.

You should note that the FDA does not require warning labels for juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass, such as at apple orchards, at farm markets, at roadside stands, or in some juice bars. If you’re unsure if a glass of juice or cider has been treated, be sure to ask.

2 Simple Steps to Juice Safety

When purchasing juice, take these two simple steps to protect your children.

1. Always Read the Label
Look for the warning label to avoid the purchase of untreated juices. You can find pasteurized or otherwise treated products in your grocers’ refrigerated sections, frozen food cases, or in non-refrigerated containers, such as juice boxes, bottles, or cans. Untreated juice is most likely to be located in the refrigerated section of a grocery store.

2. When in Doubt, Ask!
Always ask if you’re unsure if a juice product is treated, especially for juices sold in refrigerated cases of grocery or health food stores, cider mills, or farm markets. Also, don’t hesitate to ask if the labeling is unclear glass.