Hong Kong’s Consumer Council has warned that some prepackaged chilled juices available on the market is not as nutritious as as they claim to be and may even be bad for the health.
The warning came after the consumer watchdog tested samples of 40 prepackaged chilled fruit juices, including eight apple, 19 orange and 13 blended fruit juices.
It found preservatives in four of them without preservative labeling while two others tested positive for a contaminant called patulin, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The two, Cold Pressed Pink Lady Apple and Cold Pressed Apple & Strawberry, both of which are under the brand Presha Fruit, contain 67 ug/kg and 138 ug/kg of patulin, respectively, exceeding the 50 ug/kg limit set by the Centre for Food Safety (CFS).
Patulin is a type of mycotoxin commonly present in decaying fruits, certain apples and vegetables even after heat sterilization treatment.
According to a UN Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives report, patulin suppresses immunoreactions, damaging nerves and influencing development of infants.
The case has been referred to the CFS for follow-up action and the distributors of the two tainted juices have removed the products from shelves, the council said.
Professor Michael Hui King-man, who chairs the council’s publicity and community relations committee, said consumers must be very careful since there is no way for them to know whether the apple juice they drink is made of moldy apples.
In addition, the council found misleading claims by the manufacturer that prepackaged chilled juices are rich in vitamin C and fiber and can be used for detox purposes.
The carbohydrate in five samples and the vitamin C in four samples were both lower than their declared values by 39.5 percent and 48.3 percent, respectively. Another six samples showed sugar content was higher than their declared values, reaching 292.3 percent in the most extreme case.
Moreover, dietary fiber was hardly found in the samples.
Five samples with claims such as “fresh” and “freshly squeezed” on the packaging carried no indication of the production date or sterilization method.
The council warned people who consume prepackaged chilled juices that they could be be paying more than they should and that their health might be affected.
It urged consumers to ignore claims that such juices have detox value.
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