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FDA Issues Nationwide Health Alert on Orchid Island Unpasteurized Orange Juice Products

FDA Statement

July 8, 2005

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking unpasteurized orange juice products distributed under a variety of brand names by Orchid Island Juice Company of Fort Pierce, Florida, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium and have been associated with an outbreak of human disease caused by this organism.

Salmonella Typhimurium is a germ that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Otherwise healthy individuals may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long- term complications can include severe arthritis.

To date there have been reports of 15 cases of a matching strain of illness directly linked to a history of consumption of Orchid Island Juice from mid-May to June in Michigan, Ohio and Massachusetts. In addition, at least 16 other states have reported cases of Salmonella Typhimurium infection that match this specific strain. Further investigations are underway to determine if these infections are also related to these products or not.

"FDA is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our state partners to identify the source of the problem and its scope," said Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of orange juice sold in stores is pasteurized and safe to drink."

The unpasteurized product comes in a variety of containers distributed to retail stores and restaurants under various brand names. The products are identified on the labels as freshly squeezed or fresh orange juice. The following labels are involved: Nino Salvaggio's, Westborn Market, and Natalie's Orchid Island Juice. Orchid Island Juice bottles products under other brand names that have not yet been provided to FDA by the company.

These products do not bear a warning label that the juice is unpasteurized. Such warning labels do appear on many unpasteurized juice products, so consumers should not assume these products are safe to consume simply because they do not bear the "unpasteurized" warning label.

Individuals who believe they have become ill as a result of drinking this unpasteurized juice should consult their health care provider and contact their local health department.

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