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Article | August 31, 1998
Juice warnings, not pasteurization
The Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule on July 8 requiring warning labels on fresh, unpasteurized juices. The requirement applies to all processors that package untreated juice for off-site consumption, including retailers such as grocery stores that squeeze and bottle juice for home use.
The label will state: "WARNING: This product 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." FDA estimated that 5 million gallons of juice about 2% of all juice sold in the U.S. will include a warning label. FDA also proposed a rule that would require all fruit and vegetable juice processors to implement a HACCP system for their products. The National Food Processors Assn. (NFPA) criticized the final rule as not going far enough to protect consumers. Warning labels should be only a necessary short-term alternative until pasteurization or an equivalent process is required for all juices said Dr. Rhona Applebaum NFPA's Executive Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs. "Labeling is not a long-term answer to this food safety issue" she added. NFPA also opposed the proposed HACCP rule charging HACCP is unnecessary if a product is pasteurized. The association questioned why FDA proposed burdensome and unnecessary requirements in the HACCP rule while not mandating pasteurization of all juice products. The American Frozen Food Institute also critized the proposed HACCP rule as unnecessary.
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