A 'fair' warning about pasteurization
Oct 20, 2012 / 10:23 am
With the arrival of apple season and fall fairs, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reminding people that unpasteurized apple juice and cider can sometimes be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella.
The recent E. coli scare at XL Foods has heightened awareness about food safety across the country, and now the BCCDC reports that throughout North America more than 1,700 people have fallen ill after consuming juice and cider.
Most of these outbreaks involved unpasteurized juices and ciders such as apple cider, orange juice and lemonades.
The BCCDC says the vast majority of apple juice and cider sold in BC is not dangerous, however the safety of unpasteurized products cannot be confirmed. Only pasteurized apple juice and cider are free of pathogens.
Unpasteurized apple juice and cider should be boiled for at least a minute before drinking to kill any pathogens that might be present.
Both retailers and consumers are encouraged to check before buying apple juice or cider to determine if it has been pasteurized. If you cannot be certain, they suggest you consider the possible risks to you and your family before buying the product.
Symptoms of infection with E. coli or Salmonella can include stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea.
Up to eight per cent of people, and especially young children under the age of five, infected with E. coli 0157:H7 can have severe kidney damage.
This can be fatal or require the person to be on kidney dialysis for the rest of their lives while they wait for a kidney transplant.
“It’s important for everyone who drinks apple juice or cider, especially people in vulnerable groups, to make sure their apple drinks are pasteurized. Make sure you and your children are drinking only pasteurized products when you visit fall fairs on the weekend,” says Lynn Wilcott, food safety specialist, BCCDC
If you believe you or your child is ill, see a doctor immediately and notify your local health authority. Symptoms can occur within two to ten days of consuming the contaminated products.
Freezing or refrigeration will not make unpasteurized apple juice or cider safe. Ensure freshness and quality by refrigerating apple juice and cider and respecting their best-before dates.
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