Naturally producing molds and fungi, known collectively as mycotoxins, are ubiquitous in the natural world. Molds and fungi are so common they are often ignored.
Last week, a grocery store chain based in upstate New York recalled two of its store brand organic fruit juices for mycotoxin contamination. It’s too early to know if anyone got sick from the high Patulin levels in the organic juice.
Mycotoxins are molds, like certain species of Penicillium, Aspergillus and Byssochylamy, which then produce Patulin, a substance commonly found on pears, apples and in apple juice. And while pasteurization kills most molds, it does not affect Patulin.
Wegmans Food Markets Inc., an 81-store supermarket chain headquartered in Rochester, NY with stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York recalled the organic juice.
The recalled products are organic apple and cranberry juice, both sold in 64-ounce contains. The UPC number for the apple juice is 77890-20605-8 with expiration dates of 1/28/2014 through 3/19/2014. The UPC number for the cranberry juice is 77890-26689-2 with an expiration date of 11/5/2013.
Wegmans recalled the two juices after its supplier informed the retailer that levels of Patulin in the products were higher than allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA maximum for Patulin is 50 parts per billion (ppb).
Levels of Patulin in the two juices reached just over the limit at 56 ppb. The FDA’s level is very conservative and includes a built-in margin of safety, according to Wegmans.