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Unpasteurized Juice

Unpasteurized Juice

Pasteurized juice is safe because it has been heated hot enough and long enough to kill bacteria.

Pasteurization is the process of heating liquid or semi-liquid foods to a particular temperature for a designated period sufficient to destroy certain bacteria.

Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized

Pasteurization is the process of heating liquid or semi-liquid foods to a particular temperature for a designated period sufficient to destroy certain bacteria.

Unpasteurized juice (often called “fresh juice”) has not been through this process. Published reports indicate that over 95% of the juice consumed by Americans each year is pasteurized. However, because pasteurized and unpasteurized juice may look and taste the same, you may not know if the juice you buy and serve is pasteurized or not.

Risks

Foodborne illness outbreaks associated with unpasteurized apple and orange juices have sickened hundreds, even proving fatal for a few. While all people are at risk for foodborne illness, some groups of individuals are at greater risk for developing more severe symptoms.

These “high-risk groups” include: young children, senior citizens, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

Food Poisoning Symptoms

Symptoms commonly associated with food poisoning are diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, fever, and headache.

Juice Contamination

Bacteria, such as E. coli O157:H7, live in the intestines of animals. Fruit juice/cider may become contaminated when the raw fruit used to prepare the juice/cider has fallen to the ground and comes into contact with these bacteria from animal droppings. Contamination can also occur when the water used in the orchard or during processing contains harmful bacteria, from improper food handling practices, or from soiled equipment.

Foodborne illness-causing bacteria can survive in the final product if it’s not pasteurized. Freezing will not destroy the harmful bacteria.

Sale of Unpasteurized Juice

Restaurants and retailers may still serve unpasteurized juice; however, if they do, Colorado state regulations require that they notify consumers. The public has the right to choose alternatives.

Checking for Safety

No food is 100% safe; however, pasteurized juices are the safest available, because the pasteurization process eliminates bacterial contamination. Again, it is not always obvious by looking at a container whether the juice has been pasteurized or not.

Current federal regulations require unpasteurized juice sold at retail markets to display a warning label; however, unpasteurized juices distributed to facilities and institutions may not be labeled or otherwise identified. Also, many pasteurized juices are not labeled. If the juice you receive or purchase is not labeled, do not assume it is pasteurized. To be sure, ask your supplier or the juice manufacturer.

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