May 2013

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to consume any juice products or other beverages from Juices Incorporated (aka Juices International and Juices Enterprises) of Brooklyn, N.Y. The company’s carrot and beet juice products have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism, a serious and potentially fatal foodborne illness. Consumers are warned not to consume these products even if they do not look or smell spoiled.

Botulism can cause the following symptoms: general weakness; dizziness; double-vision; and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms. People experiencing these symptoms after consuming carrot or beet juice products from Juices Incorporated should seek immediate medical attention.

Although previously distributed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, Juices Incorporated products were recently found in retail establishments and restaurants in the New York City area, and consumers may have moved the products beyond this region.

The following Juices Incorporated juice products pose a particular concern for Clostridium botulinum contamination:

Carrot Juice Drink

Carrot & Beet Juice Drink

Carrot & Ginger Drink

Double Trouble Carrot Punch

Ginger Beet Juice

Beet Juice Drink

The products are packaged under the following brand names:

Juices Incorporated

Juices International

Juices Enterprises

On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint for permanent injunction against the owners of Juices Incorporated after FDA inspections revealed continuing violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, including insanitary conditions at the Juices Incorporated facility. Under a January 3, 2011 Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction (Consent Decree), the owners of Juices Incorporated are required to stop manufacturing and distributing any articles of food, including all juice products and other beverages, until they correct the food safety deficiencies and insanitary conditions at their facility.

Subsequently, on June 21, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Sandra L. Townes for the Eastern District of New York issued an Order to Enforce Consent Decree after the owners of Juices Incorporated failed to comply with the requirements of the Consent Decree. FDA investigators recently confirmed that Juices Incorporated and its owners continue to manufacture and distribute juice products and other beverages in violation of the Consent Decree and the Court’s Order to Enforce Consent Decree.

Although Clostridium botulinum has never been found inJuices Incorporated’s juice products, FDA is concerned about the firm’s continuing production of potentially hazardous juice products despite the requirements of the Consent Decree and Order to Enforce Consent Decree. Because the company was ordered not to manufacture or distribute any food, FDA is also warning consumers not to consume other Juices Incorporated beverages, including but not limited to: Ginger Beer Drink, Agony Peanut Punch, Front End Lifter Magnum Punch, Irish Sea Moss, Cashew Punch, Sorrel Drink, Pineapple Twist, Soursop Juice, and Corn Punch.

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act refers to unsanitary conditions as insanitary.

Health Canada is reminding Canadians that the consumption of certain whole salted fish products like fesikh, a traditional dish in the Egyptian community, represents an increased risk of botulism.

The fish used to make these specific salted fish dishes are not gutted before the ripening and salting process. This provides an opportunity for Clostridium botulinum bacteria that may be in the gut of the fish to grow and produce the toxins that cause botulism. These toxins are not eliminated by any smoking or drying of the end product. Refrigeration, freezing, washing, and open air or vacuum packaging will not make the fish safe. This applies to whole fish, fillets or parts.

The most recent botulism outbreak in Canada caused by the consumption of fesikh was in 2012. Internationally, the consumption of ungutted salted fish, including fesikh, has been linked to many cases of botulism.

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled. Symptoms of botulism can include nausea and/or vomiting followed by one or more of: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, dry mouth, difficulty speaking, difficulty swallowing, weakness, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases, death can occur. Symptoms generally begin 12 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as six hours or as late as 10 days after eating. If you are experiencing similar symptoms, please contact your health professional.