As the cool weather of the fall season often provides some of the best times of the year for drinking fresh-squeezed juices and cider, FDA is reminding consumers to be carefully read the labels on these products.
“Juices provide many important nutrients, but consuming untreated juices can pose health risks to your family,” FDA says. “When fruits and vegetables are fresh-squeezed or used raw, bacteria from the produce can end up in your juice or cider. Unless the produce or the juice has been treated to destroy any harmful bacteria, the juice could be contaminated.”
Most juices sold in the U.S. are pasteurized to kill bacteria, however, some stores, juice bars, farmers’ markets and cider mills package juice that has not undergone this process. FDA says these 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.
However, FDA does not require warning labels on juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass, such as at apple orchards, farmers' markets, roadside stands, and juice bars.
FDA offers some simple steps to prevent illness when purchasing juice:
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 sold in the refrigerated section of a grocery store.
Don't hesitate to ask if you are unsure if a juice product is treated, if the labeling is unclear, or if the juice or cider is sold by the glass.