A glass of fresh orange juice is the perfect complement to a hearty breakfast. Every sip gives a refreshing boost to heavy meals. But if you’re eating out, it might be best to go for a different drink.
If a restaurant advertises fresh-squeezed juice, people over 65 and those with weaker immune systems should think twice about ordering. The FDA advises to skip the drink since they can’t guarantee it is prepared in a safe way that eliminates all bacteria. This leaves you more vulnerable to food poisoning.
“When fruits and vegetables are fresh-squeezed or used raw, bacteria from the produce can end up in your juice or cider. Unless the produce or the juice has been pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy any harmful bacteria, the juice could be contaminated,” the organization warns.
Pasteurized basically means it was treated, likely with heat, to eliminate bacteria and make it safe to consume. People over 65 should always try to consume food that was pasteurized since they’re more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.
“As we age our immune systems tend to get weaker. This can yield immune responses to infections, including foodborne illness, that are not as robust as younger, healthy adults,” Dr. Tamika D. Sims, PhD, previously explained. “Infectious organisms are not only lurking in spoiled foods.”
How to know orange juice is safe to drink.
Thankfully, most juice sold in America has been pasteurized and is safe to consume. The FDA only warns to be extra careful when buying from grocery stores, health food stores, cider mills, farmers’ markets, and juice bars that sell packaged juice made on site. The same applies to smoothies made with these unpasteurized juices. Since they were made fresh, it likely means they weren’t treated before serving. TK
Luckily, these products are required by the FDA to carry the following label: 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.
So if you see that anywhere on a juice, be careful about buying it! Older adults should avoid it entirely to ensure their safety. However, they do not require this label at restaurants. So if you’re unsure about any juice you’re ordering, you can always ask if it’s been pasteurized first.
If you’re especially at risk, think about opting out of fresh-squeeze orange juice to avoid what could be a life-threatening illness. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!