Listen to the warning that appears on some juice products. Warning: This produce 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.
Juices may often look alike, but there is a difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized juice. When fruits and vegetables are made into fresh-squeezed juice, harmful bacteria that may be present can become part of the finished product. 98% of juice sold in the United States, is pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. The remaining 2 percent of juice sold is unpasteurized. Unpasteurized juice may contain the harmful bacteria that make vulnerable people sick.
To help consumers identify unpasteurized juice and cider, the Food and Drug Administration is requiring the warning label mentioned above. This label will appear either on the juice label or on signs located near where the juice is sold. All unpasteurized or untreated juices will contain the warning on the label.
Frozen concentrate, shelf-stable juice in hermetically sealed containers, and canned juice are processed to eliminate harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized juice is normally found in the refrigerated sections of grocery or health food stores or at cider mills or farmer's markets.
Parents of children in day care centers and schools that serve cider and juice may want to ask if the products are pasteurized. Children on field trips to apple cider mills or farm markets should not drink unpasteurized cider.
If you or someone in your family is in one of the high-risk population groups and you cannot determine if a juice product has been processed to destroy harmful bacteria, either dont use the product or bring it to a boil to kill any possible harmful bacteria.
Food and Drug Administration Information Line