Health Canada

Health Canada

October 13, 2009 14:01 ET

Information Update: The Government of Canada Reminds Canadians of the Dangers of Unpasteurized Fruit Juice and Cider

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 13, 2009) - With the fall harvest season approaching, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are reminding parents and caregivers that children should not be served unpasteurized apple juice or other unpasteurized products, such as unpasteurized cider, fruit juices and raw milk. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are also advised against consuming unpasteurized products.

Unpasteurized products can be contaminated with harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can make vulnerable individuals such as children, especially those under the age of six, very ill, and can even lead to death.

It must be noted that the vast majority of juice sold in Canada is safe as it has been pasteurized (treated with heat or ultraviolet light) to kill harmful bacteria. This includes most of the juice sold in refrigerated display cases, juice from concentrate, and all shelf-stable products that are packaged in cans, bottles and juice boxes, which can be found unrefrigerated on grocery store shelves.

Unpasteurized juice products can be found at some farmers' markets, local orchards, cider mills, roadside stands and juice bars. While the risk of becoming seriously ill by consuming unpasteurized juice products is generally low for most adults, the possible danger to vulnerable groups is much greater. This becomes even more of a concern during the harvest season because schools often take students to orchards as part of class field trips.

Symptoms of a food-borne illness such as E. coli 0157:H7 infection can include stomach cramps, vomiting, fever and bloody diarrhea and can occur within two to 10 days of consuming contaminated food. People who experience any of these symptoms should contact their doctors immediately.

More information about unpasteurized fruit juice and cider is available from:

Government of Canada's Food Safety Tips for Unpasteurized Juice (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/unpasteurized-pasteurises-eng.php)

Health Canada's Information on Unpasteurized Juice and Cider (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/facts-faits/unpast_fruit_juices-jus_fruits_cidre_nonpast_e.html)

It's Your Health - Unpasteurized Juice and Cider (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/food-aliment/juice-jus-eng.php)

Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Fact Sheet on Unpasteurized Juice/Cider (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/concen/specif/juicee.shtml)

Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education's Be Food Safe Canada Campaign (www.befoodsafe.ca)


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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
    Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    613-773-6600
    or
    Public Enquiries:
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    1-866 225-0709