Potential risks of drinking unpasteurized juice and cider
While most producers pasteurize juice and cider to kill harmful bacteria, unpasteurized juice and cider can be found at some farmers' markets, local orchards, cider mills, roadside stands, and juice bars.
Help keep your family safe by learning about the potential risks of consuming unpasteurized products.
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Unpasteurized juice and cider
"Fresh-squeezed" usually means the product is unpasteurized.
Who's at risk?
Unpasteurized juice and cider should not be consumed by the following at-risk groups:
What are the risks?
Fruit used to make juice and cider can become contaminated in the farm environment, through handling, processing or transportation.
Reduce your risk
Check with the seller to ensure unpasteurized juices and ciders are produced according to the Code of Practice when purchasing products from:
- farmers' markets
- locals orchards
- cider mills
- roadside stands
- juice bars
You should also:
- Refrigerate all unpasteurized products.
- Respect the "best before" dates.
At-risk groups should take these additional precautions:
- Drink only pasteurized juice and cider.
- Check the label to ensure the product is pasteurized.
- Ask the seller or producer if the product is pasteurized.
- Refrigerate all pasteurized products and respect the "best before" dates to ensure freshness.
Freezing or refrigerating unpasteurized juices and ciders does not ensure safety. Pasteurization is the only process that can kill harmful bacteria.
Pasteurized juice and cider
Pasteurized juices and ciders are safe to consume. Most of the juices and ciders sold in Canadian stores are pasteurized.
These pasteurized products include:
- most of the juice sold in refrigerated display cases
- most juice made from concentrate
- all shelf-stable products, such as those packaged in cans, bottles, and juice boxes (found unrefrigerated on grocery store shelves)
What is pasteurization?
Pasteurization is a process that uses heat or ultraviolet light to kill harmful organisms that can cause disease while maintaining the nutritional properties of the product.
What the Government of Canada does to protect you
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety.
The Code of Practice for the Production and Distribution of Unpasteurized Apple and Other Fruit Juice/Cider in Canada outlines the steps producers, processors, distributors, and retailers can take to reduce the possibility of contamination. The Code was developed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada, and the provinces and territories with input from industry and consumers. The goal is to continue to produce safe, high quality juice and cider for Canadian consumers.
In addition, CFIA continues to monitor known producers and their products and provide them with updated information as it becomes available. Health Canada advocates the use of a Code of Practice and also encourages producers to label their products as "unpasteurized" when they have not been pasteurized.
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