Parents, there is some fungus amongus! Researchers found five, FIVE different types of fungus in Capri Sun juice packs. You know, those pouches moms and dads throw into their kids' lunches every day? Fungus. And you thought your kids hated mushrooms ...
The study was prompted when people complained about finding bits of what looked like mold (ew!) in the juice. They were actually mats of fungus, but gross nonetheless. But wait, I've never heard of anyone ever actually getting sick from drinking from one of those juice pouches. Why not?
It turns out that fungus isn't really that harmful, at least not for most kids and adults. "Probably, those of us with healthy immune systems, we could even eat that, and that wouldn’t be a problem," says researcher Kathleen Dannelly. She's referring to the fungus mats. (And I'd like to apologize to those of you who were hoping to never read the phrase "fungus mat" ever, ever again in your lives.) This is fungus we encounter all the time, like, IN THE AIR. So it's not as scary as hearing there's E. coli in your juice -- though still scary for people with illnesses that compromise their immune systems.
OK, so how does it get there? The juice is heat pasteurized, but even the teensiest puncture can let fungus-carrying air into the pouch. The company doesn't use preservatives because they know parents hate that crap. They did try to make transparent pouches so you could see what-all's going on in there, but there were problems.
What do we do now? I never buy Capri Sun anyway and my kid drinks water with his lunch mostly because of all the sugar in juice. But I'll sometimes buy those juice boxes for picnics or parties. They're sturdier, but they're not transparent, either. So this kind of makes me a little nervous. Maybe from now on it's pitchers and paper cups at parties for us? And drinks in a Sigg bottle for picnics. But if I were Capri Sun, a company whose whole business model is all about that pouch, I'd go back to R&D on those transparent pouches.
How do you feel about fungus in juice packs?
Image via mollypop/Flickr