Shoppers breaking seals, letting air in, most likely cause of mouldy juice boxes
‘This looks like intestines or something. I’m disgusted and traumatised’
Repulsive images of dark lumps in a pack of fruit juice are going viral on social media again — this time a litre of Woolworths Tropical Splash fruit juice blend was fingered.
Lulama Lulu posted several photos of her shock find on X: “Just found this inside a Woolworths juice bottle. We poured the juice and black stuff was coming out. We shook the bottle and could feel there was something else inside. Opened the bottle and this is what we found. What’s this?”
The best-before date printed on the top of the pack is June 15 2024.
It’s most likely spoilage mould such as Penicillium, so no need to worry, as the blue veins in blue cheese are active growth of this organismProf Pieter Gouws of the Centre for Food Safety at Stellenbosch University
“This looks like intestines or something,” Lulu said. “I’m disgusted and traumatised. Taking all of these juices back. I’m never buying them again.”
Asked to comment, Woolworths told TimesLIVE Premium: “We’re aware of a tweet circulating that relates to one of our fruit juice products.
“We’ve been in contact with the customer and are treating this as a priority. Our teams and suppliers will collect the sample and launch an investigation into what went wrong. More information will be available once the investigation has been concluded.
“Maintaining the excellent standard of quality Woolies is known for remains our priority, and we’ll continue to work hard to ensure incidents like these don’t happen.”
Commercially sold fruit juices are pasteurised, meaning they've been briefly heated to a high temperature to kill micro organisms. As a result, most do not contain preservatives. But if the package is somehow penetrated via the seam or cap, juice provides a fertile environment for mould to grow, said Prof Pieter Gouws of the Centre for Food Safety at Stellenbosch University’s food science department.
“Most of these cases are a result of the juices not having tamper-proof seals,” he said.
Just found this inside a @WOOLWORTHS_SA juice bottle🤮🤮We poured the juice and black stuff was coming out. We shook the bottle & could feel there was something else inside. Opened the bottle & this is what we found. @WOOLWORTHS_SA what’s this? @hellopetercom pic.twitter.com/y1BphOA6JB— Lulama Lulu (@lu_lulama) January 31, 2024
“So a consumer could apply pressure to a cap, to see if it really is tightly sealed, break the seal and move on.
“Once air gets into a product on the shelf and is then exposed to high temperatures when it leaves the shop, mould develops.”
The entire batch of that juice would need to be examined to find out if the mould was spoilage or whether the batch was contaminated in production, Gouws said.
“If more than 1% of the batch developed mould, that would point to it being a production issue. But in these cases, most of the time, it’s about the lid being tampered with post-production.”
Is the mould a health risk? Generally not, Gouws said. “It’s most likely spoilage mould such as Penicillium, so no need to worry, as the blue veins in blue cheese are active growth of this organism.”
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.