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Food and Nutrition

Unpasteurized Fruit Juice and Cider

A small percentage of apple juice, apple cider and orange juice is unpasteurized. This means it has not been treated to eliminate disease-causing bacteria and could therefore be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and some viruses. Harmful microorganisms like these can make vulnerable individuals very ill and can even lead to death.

Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are advised not to consume unpasteurized products. They should not be served unpasteurized apple juice or any other unpasteurized products such as:

  • Unpasteurized cider
  • Fruit juices
  • Raw milk

Unpasteurized juice/cider is usually purchased as freshly pressed from local orchards, roadside stands, farmers markets, country fairs and juice bars. Unpasteurized juice/cider may also be found on ice or in refrigerated display cases and in produce sections at grocery stores.

Health Canada's Role

Health Canada is considering making the labelling as "unpasteurized" mandatory on unpasteurized fruit juices and cider products. The department held a stakeholder consultation on proposed labelling options that closed December 16, 2005. A report of the results of the consultation is available.

Health Canada introduced its current policy, Managing Health Risk Associated with the Consumption of Unpasteurized Fruit Juice/Cider Products, in July of 2000 to address the risks associated with the consumption of unpasteurized juice/cider.

The policy is comprised of three components:

  1. A voluntary Code of Practice for manufacturers
  2. Voluntary labelling of juice/cider as "Unpasteurized"
  3. An education campaign to inform consumers about the possible health risks associated with the consumption of unpasteurized juice/cider and the actions that can be taken to reduce these risks.

What Resources Are Available?

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have produced the following resources for industry and the public to help minimize the risks of contamination and illness.

For Industry:

For the Public: