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FDA requires new warning labels for unpasteurized juices

juice labels
Juice labels may change noting pasteurization processes to the customer  
September 8, 1998
Web posted at: 12:08 p.m. EDT (1608 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is mandating juice makers place a warning label on fruit and vegetable juice products that have not been pasteurized or heat-treated to kill germs.

The rule goes into effect Tuesday for apple juice and apple cider. Compliance for other juices is not required until November 5.

Ninety-eight percent of all juice in the United States is routinely pasteurized. The other 2 percent -- mostly the freshly squeezed juice -- is not.

Unpasteurized juice has been blamed for a growing number of food poisoning outbreaks.

In 1996, a one-year-old girl died after drinking Odwalla apple juice that was infected with E. coli 0157-H7, the deadly form of the bacteria. Odwalla has since begun heat treating its juice.

juice production

The National Food Processors Association says the warning labels are a good first step, but is urging the FDA to require pasteurization of all juices.

"The FDA should finish the job and require that all juices be pasteurized or receive an equivalent treatment to ensure their safety," the association said in a written statement.

The FDA has proposed all juice plants follow safety programs similar to those required for meat, poultry and seafood.

Until those proposals become law, any fresh juice that is not pasteurized or heat-treated will have to carry warning labels about the potential hazard of unpasteurized juice for children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

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