Why I Stopped Buying Juice Boxes (The picture will gross you out…)

A patient came to my ER after noticing green slime coming up the straw from her Juicy Juice box.  Her mom cut open the box – and brought her straight to the doctor.  Here’s what we found in the unexpired juice box:

Moldy Juice Box Moldy Juice Box
Her juice box was full of mold—green slime that lined the edges of the box.   Apparently moldy juice boxes and juice pouches (such as those made by Capri Sun) are nothing new.  If even a tiny bit of air gets into the container molds can grow.  Air can get into a juice box through a hole that’s so small you can’t see it, and it doesn’t cause leaking.  Such a tiny puncture also permits the sugars in the juice to ferment, turning the product into a form of alcohol.

Juicy Juice and many other kid’s juice products are made without preservatives, permitting mold to grow even more easily.

The good news for my patient is that moldy, fermented juice is usually not very dangerous to drink.  An upset stomach and a totally grossed out mom are the most common complications.

But I recommended she cut out the juice, anyway.  Why?  Because juice is so full of sugar and calories that some have called it a gateway drug.  Sugar ingestion can actually cause release of natural opiates (really).  Opiate release stimulates the desire for other sweets and junk food.  High salt and high fat foods can also trigger release of pleasure-inducing opiates.  This is why so many people binge on ice cream, potato chips, and other favorite junk foods like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

The more sugar-laden juice your kids drink, the more opiates flood their system, and the more they will beg for another juice box.  After drinking all those calories and stimulating their sweet tooth, chances are your kids won’t be interested in dinner.   Some high sugar, high fat, high salt food might sound good, though.  Sound familiar?

Too much fruit juice can also cause tooth decay, diarrhea, and flatulence.  There are plenty of other healthy foods that contain the vitamins your kids need, and without the high sugar and calories.   Kids just don’t need juice. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers this guidance regarding kids and fruit juice.

  • Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 6 months of age, unless directed by your physician.  Occasionally small amounts of fruit juice may be recommended as a treatment for constipation.
  • In children ages 6 months -6 years, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit over whole fruit.  Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients.
  • If you do let your kids drink fruit juice, do not allow your child to carry a sippy cup, bottle or box of juice throughout the day.  Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/d for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.
  • Never serve your kids unpasteurized juice.
  • These recommendations are for 100% fruit juice, which differs from juice drinks.  Fruit drinks often provide little to no nutritional benefit.

OK, I admit it, I’ve bought juice boxes for birthday parties and soccer games.  They are convenient, they keep kids happy, and they’re probably healthier than soda.  But you just can’t tell from looking at a juice box if it is moldy—you won’t know until you start drinking, and sometimes you won’t know until you get to the bottom… So as for my family, we’re going back to the cooler of ice water for soccer games.  If the kids complain, we’ll hand out good snacks.

Sincere thanks to the patient and her mother who permitted the photography of their juice box and gave permission for the publication of this story.

Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D. About Kathleen Berchelmann, M.D.

Kathleen M. Berchelmann, M.D., is a pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, director of the St. Louis Children's Hospital Social Media Team, and co-founder of the ChildrensMD hospital physician blog. Her work has been featured in print and online publications including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, and TIME magazine. She is a frequent contributor to Fox2 News STL Moms. Kathleen and her husband are raising five children.

Follow Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann on Facebook: ChildrensMomDocs Twitter: @MomDocKathleen and connect with her on .

Comments

  1. Heather True says:

    I became aware of this when signing up to collect Capri Sun pouches for Terrecycle and mail in all the pouches for recycling. Trying to do a nice thing got me sick.

  2. So what was the expiry date on this item? Was it within the manufacturers recommended consumption period? Was it reported to them? It’s pasteurized juice so is supposed to prevent any fermentation, unless significant contamination and time.

  3. Michelle says:

    I believe juice is not harmful-we are told to eat fruits an veggies every day-but the juice from them is bad??? You are sending mixed signals-most kids want no juice just soda. I would rather my children drink juice then energy drinks and sodas.

  4. This is good advice. I live in Japan and our kid drinks tea in her sippy cup (we call it a thermos). She likes it, there’s no sugar, no caffeine (that wouldn’t be much better than sugar) and she’ll never get hooked on sugar like it’s opium. She’s three and a half and I bought her a popsicle the other day, she ate about 1/4 of it and handed it to me, she was done with it.

    It sucks that in the states you find only an abundance of juices and soda and phony health-conscious products–even the tea is always sweetened, thick syrupy garbage. People just have to change their tastes, stop craving pleasure in every food they consume, including parents. Oolong tea doesn’t taste amazing, I’ll admit, but on a blistering hot day it does the job and is less boring than water.

  5. This article is crap. Is uses ridiculous scare tactics to push parents away from a drink that is far better than the alternatives-soda, kool-aid, etc.

    For one-the drink will not ferment and turn to alcohol. This sounds true in theory, but if it were so easy to make wine, we’d all be doing it.

    Two-OF COURSE they can mold. There are no preservatives! I’m glad there aren’t. It’s already so difficult to find natural things to give the kids, I hate that people are using these tactics to say that it’s not good.

    Three-Sugar, a gateway drug? HA! Perhaps added, unnatural sugar, but we’re talking about sugars from the fruit. A much different case.

    Four-The mold that could POSSIBLY (The chances are so slim anyway) grow is harmless. Sure, it’s gross, but aside from the “ewww” factor, it won’t harm anyone.

  6. How do you pasteurise fresh squeezed orange juice you goose?
    One more thing before we go. Our second reference above makes this statement: “Pasteur developed ‘pasteurization’, a process by which harmful microbes in perishable food products are destroyed using heat, without destroying the food.”This is not entirely true. Pasteurization does NOT kill ALL harmful microbes in milk and it DOES harm the milk.In her book, The Medical Mafia, Dr Lanctôt debunks pasteurization with a one-two punch:The temperature is not high enough.The temperature is too high.First off, Dr Lanctôt points out that germs that bring us typhoid, coli bacillus, and tuberculosis are not killed by the temperatures used, and there have been a good number of salmonella epidemics traced to pasteurized milk.Secondly, the heating process injures the milk. She points out that pasteurization destroys milk’s intrinsic germicidal properties, not to mention healthy enzymes. She goes on to state that 50% of milks calcium is unusable (the body cannot assimilate it) after pasteurization. So much for all those milk commercials.Here’s something we found online that was drawn up for a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors concerning outbreaks from pasteurized milk:

  7. I make fresh juice for my kids 2 or 3 times/week. It’s always a combination of fruit & vegetables — I put as many veggies in as I think I can get away with, and then add fruit until it tastes okay to them. If we’re in a hurry or it’s too hot to cook, sometimes I’ll add frozen banana & a tin of coconut milk and turn it into a smoothie. I think this type of fresh juice is good for them, but I think of it as FOOD, not a drink. If they’re thirsty, they drink water or milk.

  8. What type of mold was it (strain)? As an MD I’m sure you could have it tested at the hospital labs.
    First time I saw the picture I assumed it was the synthetic colorants that had settled out.
    I’m not sure what is worse, chemicals or the idea of mold!

  9. Griselda says:

    Actually having any oxygen in a sealed food container is very very dangerous, because there is then a risk of botulism.

  10. Jorge Demetrio Serrato Peña says:

    Good

  11. @Sarah as a homebrewer myself, I can assure you that it IS that easy to make alcohol. All you need is a sugary solution (fruit juice) and yeast. Wild yeast is all around us, and if it gets into that solution, you’ll have alcohol in little time. Whether or not you would want to consume it is a whole different art.

  12. This article is ridiculous. How old was this juice box??? I have 5 siblings (most younger than me), 44 first cousins, 13 nieces/nephews, my own children and tons of friends with kids. My point is, I am NO stranger to kids or juice boxes, and there are PLENTY of healthy ones out there – I have been handing them out and drinking them myself for 35+ years and I have NEVER heard of this or seen it happen. It’s not that I think it’s impossible but this juice box was opened, partially drank and then fell under a couch to be found maybe a month or so later. I guarantee it.

  13. @Sarah – I’m not really noticing any scare tactics. It is admitted it is better than soda, just not by much.

    One – it does ferment and it is that easy. This is how I make wine and beer.

    Two – yup, gross.but it doesn’t sound like the authors is saying the mold is why we shouldn’t, it can just be added to the list of reasons why not, and then here are the reasons why not.

    Three – our bodies treat sugars the same way. Fruit juice tends to be more concentrated than fruit. It takes more than one serving of fruit to make one serving of fruit juice.

    Four – yup. Still gross.

  14. Stefanie says:

    http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/caprisun.asp
    PROVED TRUE ON SNOPES.COM You have been warned by the writer of this blog and by snopes.com now. It is the truth not a scam to make people feed their kids more pop… that is rediculous! Read the snopes article please.

  15. Ewwww. So gross! I’m with you on the juice thing. It really is needless sugar. Better than coke or gatorade (high fructose GMO corn syrups and food colorings) but, still, not ideal. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Oh come on now. My kids have drank watered down juice since 6 moths old. My two older ones drink it occasionally now and do NOT go running after chips and/or chocolate. IN fact, cookies are a treat and most of the time go STALE! This is no scientific basis for this article at all.

  17. Jessica says:

    Just give your kids water!!! Not sure why you give juice anyway. And your kids would not complain if they did not have the option. I do have kids. My son likes juice but his default is water since we never have juice in the house. Common sense folks!

  18. EasyPeezy says:

    This article is pure scare mongering… For anything like this to happen, there has to be a constant supply of oxygen i.e the box is open or leaking. The reason the boxes are foiled to avoid contaminants and reaction to the box… in the first image, it is clear that the box has deteriorated and from the straw too…

    These pics look like something that has been picked up from the dump.

  19. Mandy L says:

    Thank you for posting this. Wise, caring parents want to stay informed, and you are correct. This problem with packaged juice is not uncommon. Just the problems with arsenic levels in packaged apple juice make me stay away. I think the rule that has always been true still applies, and that is that fresh is best, and the closer to the way it comes from the ground or the plant the better it is. In this day of GMOs, condensed forms of food like packaged fruit juice full of corn syrup (corn which is also one of the foods most polluted with GMOs) are simply NOT good for anyone, especially children.

  20. Its amazing how stupid some of you commentators can be. Fruit juice is like non carbonated pop. Its just sugar. It is no way the same as eating a piece of fruit. Eat apple slices, orange slices, stawberries, but drinking fruit juice is taking all the good outta it. One 4oz glass of apple juice is like 5 apples, what a waste of good FOOD. Sugar is ‘natural’ but that doesn’t mean we should be drink it, the process to acquire it is not natural, like agave nectar( i.e. High fructose agave syrup). Its the HFCF of the heath community, just like evaporated cane juice is the regular sugar of the heath community. They called sugar a gateway drug because it manipulates brain chemistry like drugs do. They not saying the next thing you kids will do is smoke pot, then on to crack, but it does increase addictive behaviors. THEN you give it to the SMALL still developing child. Nothing wrong with water people. I’m not getting into artificial sweeteners which are not unnatural sugar but unnatural sweeteners, there is a difference between sugars and sweeteners. Again another time.

  21. Im assuming you mean opiate like?….lol

  22. @rory i caught saminella from whole raw milk…..never again my friend pasturized all the way and im in the dairy industry over 13 yrs

  23. James E. says:

    In today’s society of lies and profit,false flavoring and addictive additives…The only TRUE hydrating liquid safe for HUMAN consumption is water. This is even questionable due to the govt. contaminating it with Mass amounts of Fluoride. Lets face it…at the end of the day,your health is really in your own hands,don’t be so quick to blindly follow someone’s advertisement,it may sound good but remember it’s all about profit..

  24. Meredith says:

    I stopped reading after “sugar is a gateway drug”. Overreact much?

  25. Hello, what about homemade juices? Made with fruit? I make Smoothies/juices with fruit and veggies like spinach and kale. Is that bad too? Sugar-wise? I mean… eating and drinking a fruit is the same, right? Thank you.

  26. This is bogus. “Opiates flow through their system from juice boxes” redivulous.

  27. @Meredith LOL exactly! Same to you @Sarah…right on! I am stunned someone took their kid to the ER over a bit of slime in the juice box… that is hard core!

  28. 5 letters people….. W A T E R! Nothing is better. Juice boxes are just sugar water. Soda is sugar and carbonated water. Do your kids a favor and give them what they naturally need….. simple, refreshing WATER!

  29. Juices, especially these shelved boxed drinks are FULL of processed sugars that rot teeth and are one of the causes for childhood obesity along with sodas and energy drinks. Kids should really be drinking water and milk. Have your kids eat fresh fruit and if you want them to have a juice, then juice it yourself as a smoothie or with veggies. Ask any pediatrician and all or most should be telling you this.

  30. I say if it has a label why drink it or eat it. It should be in it’s pure & complex form. Juicing the fruit yourself is the safest way to drink REAL. I understand we have things to do all day long. I’m here just to say that the extra mile is worth every penny in the long run.

  31. Yes, this happens with juices that don’t add preservatives, like Capri sun. No preservatives is a good thing! We have gotten so used to non-spoiling foods, it’s disturbing. A fresh baked loaf of bread will grow mold in a couple of days. Bread full of preservatives won’t mold for a couple of weeks. A McDonald bun that has been kept for years still has grown no mold. Mold is not a bad sign, and these articles only give those juice brands a bad name. Granted, they should probably be in clear containers.

  32. for the people that say this doesn’t happen here are links from my local news station where it did happen here and where the local university tested to see what was going on. It does happen and its the reason I don’t buy these things for my kids.About the only juices we drink around here is OJ and 100% cranberry juice.Otherwise its water or unsweetened fresh brewed teas. http://www.wthitv.com/dpp/news/local/dad-finds-odd-substance-in-kids-drink#.Uba8dLDD-00
    http://www.indstate.edu/news/news.php?newsid=3556

  33. Charlie Townsend says:

    Looks dubious to me. So you kept the mould bits when the juice was poured away and surely the boy did not drink the whole thing or was it that you found this in the bin weeks later as the juice has all dried away? What did you do with the slime juice, surely this would have been a good photo too – missing evidence here!
    There are 2 issues pointed out – don’t drink non fresh fruit juices due to high suger content, and don’t drink cartons if they are swollen, or any signs of breakage or been opened more than 3 days – This is common sense!
    Why are you taking your son to A&E for an upset stomach, even worse, not happened yet? Wasting precious time meant for real Accidents and Emergencies!

  34. 26 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of apple juice? (from Juicy Juice’s website)
    That equals more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in one cup of juice!
    Yikes … that is lots of sugar!!

  35. The obvious conclusion is to do what was sensible to generations: only drink from a box that includes preservatives. Stop being scared by something that has never harmed anyone.

  36. “An upset stomach and a totally grossed out mom are the most common complications.”

    That is enough complication. An upset stomach is called being sick. That is what we should avoid by using preservatives that don’t make you sick but make people worry because preservatives are “scary.”

  37. Frieda Gelber says:

    It is always the right time to introduce people to the art of home juicing and green smoothie making and especially encourage them to use organically grown produce. These freshly made beverages are best consumed immediately upon preparation.

  38. Sarah you better wake up girl and smell the “juice” because what the article is stating is true to form. I got violently ill on a juice box and when I went to the doctor he asked me what I had drank or ate and when I told him about the juice box, he wasn’t a bit surprised. I haven’t had a juice box since and don’t miss them. I make my own juice now and I know what’s in my juice and I can tell you there’s no slime or mold so wake up or maybe you’re looking to get sick so you can sue someone to make some money.

  39. Wow

  40. It’s amazing how many responses here are simply undereducated people “guaranteeing” or insisting that this can’t be true. And, a large handful don’t understand the metaphor of “gateway drug” to suggest that folks’ craving for sugar begins with a childhood of unnecessary sweet drinks (soda or juice).

    Listen: your kid doesn’t need sugar water to grow up. You’re just doing it because you spoil your child. Really, it just damages their teeth, makes them behave poorly due to the sugar rush, and it’s likely to make them grow up fat.

    Instead of being a lazy parent, take a second to rear them right. Whole fruits, water when thirsty, and fewer processed carbs. Get off your computers for a few minutes and make some healthy, simple foods instead of going to fast food or getting pizza.

    And you don’t really need to post if you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Elevate your game instead of trying to bring everyone down to an idiocracy.

  41. Yes, it’s gross but so what? A hole in the container was the result. It was an accident or an oversight. I agree sugar in juices are not good for kids, it’s probably not so great for adults either. Neither are alcohols in beer or wine if you binge on them. Moderation and controls are whats important here. Not coming up with moldy juice boxes and telling everyone to stay clear of them.
    So what’s next water intoxication? Come up with an example of someone who passed away due to water intoxication and tell everyone to stay clear of water?????

  42. Amazing how many responses asked how old the juice box was when it clearly states in the article that it was not an expired date. Does anyone read the entire article, or just respond when they get aggravated by it???

  43. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with posting an article about this particular situation with this juice box as an informative aid to mothers/guardians to be aware and on the look out I do, however, find it incredibly wrong to use said incident to shove agenda and opinion down the throats of those who are very bright, wise, caring, and loving parents who are just trying to keep their kids healthy in whatever way they feel is most important and necessary. To say that 100% no sugar added juice (not talking about refined sugar products like desserts, soda, candy, sports drinks, and added sugar “juice” beverages) is a drug that will lead my children to the streets begging for a snickers bar or morbidly obese by the time they are 10 if they drink it watered down (half and half) most of the day while they are young children is a judgmental, unfounded, and extremely paranoid inducing opinion. Both of my children (6 and 1 1/2) as well as both of my nephews (9 and 7) have been drinking watered down 100% juice since about 6 months old and all of them are extremely healthy, active, and unaddicted to sugar (both of mine in the 25 percentile for weight and believe me they don’t skip their meals unless they don’t feel well.) Quite frankly I’m starting to get frustrated with all of the “opinions” out there being touted as gospel. My kids drink watered down juice because neither of them would drink plain water or milk (and I tried many times as well as many types of “milk” to no avail.) I give it to them because, in my humble opinion and in the best interest of MY children it is more important that they stay well hydrated and healthy than it is to get my panties in a bunch because I can’t tell everyone, “oh well my kids only drink water unless it’s a special occasion because I’m a “good mom” and that’s what good moms do.” I have absolutely no problem with parents whose children only drink water or milk (although I will say even my hormone/thyroid specialist doctor said milk is about nutritionally equivalent to mucus but that’s another story.) If their/your kids are willing to guzzle down (with no griping, yeah right) water all day that is sufficient to keep them healthy and hydrated more power to you but let’s all just be honest and and ask ourselves why we expect our kids to do what we ourselves mostly don’t do? I happen to drink water most of the day simply because it’s the only thing that refreshes me and I did’nt grow up only drinking water but I also drink green tea and I probably don’t drink the recommended amount of water every single day. Ask yourselves how many adults you know walk around drinking nothing but water all day? Why do you think the “flavored” water is such a huge industry right now? Just about every single bottled water company out there now has “flavored and enhanced” water. Why do you think you see commercial after commercial of water enhancers like crystal light, mio, etc etc.? It’s because just plain water is boring to most people, including adults, and being dehydrated is extremely unhealthy and dangerous especially to kids and THAT is absolutely proven. So as for my family whatever it takes (within reason, because even us “bad moms” have our limits) to keep my little precious ones well hydrated and peeing up a storm is what’s most important to me. So how about we just allow each other to parent our own children the best we can and support each other as fellow members of this wild journey we’re all on and if someone happens to come across some interesting/helpful information pass it along with a sense of graciousness and non-judgementalism.

  44. Judging by the picture it looks like the box and mold are dry. My question would be, how long has this box been sitting around? And who cuts open a juice box regularly?

  45. Pam Sparks says:

    We squeeze organic valencia oranges and the kids love doing it and drinking it! Always want more! I’ve always read it’s better to eat the fruit than drink the juice because the enzymes in your saliva start breaking it down and makes for better digestion and blood sugar levels.
    Thank you for bringing this to our attention though… always glad to be informed!

  46. Ollieop says:

    For those of you that are saying your kids don’t drink anything but watered down juice, well, you shouldn’t have started your kids on watered down juice at 6 months old. Common sense people, your kids don’t need to consume sugar in a glass. My two kids drink milk or water only. I think my oldest at 4 has had 1 glass of juice in his life. He likes it but he still asks for water or milk because that is what he knows. It doesn’t take much to raise your children without constant sugar. You are the parent, do right by your kids.

  47. I’ve never been a fan of juice boxes…and this is more of a reason why!

  48. william says:

    Some notes:
    Preservatives are added to products to prolong shelf life and to shield the manufacturers from product liability lawsuits. Preservatives include sugar, salt, some herbs and spices, alcohol and vinegar (the so-called “natural” preservatives), as well as other chemicals (typically, inorganic salts; “inorganic,” in this sense, meaning “not hydrocarbon) not usually found in “natural” food, and which thus have been demonized as “artificial.”
    A good bit of confusion has also been broadcast regarding the use of the term “organic” to define “naturally grown” food products that are free of “artificial” (or worse, “non-organic”) preservatives, fertilizers, pesticides, etc., and canned or packaged or processed or preserved without “artificial” preservatives.
    Anyone who has ever done any home canning (probably excludes most people under the age of 40) recognizes the vital importance of adding appropriate preservatives (“whether “natural” or “organic” or “artificial”) to canned goods (in this case I mean food preserved and stored at home in specialized sealed glass “canning” jars with heat-sealed lids) as well as using only sterilized containers and utensils in the home canning process. Last year we processed and canned, at home, 122 quarts of produce, mostly tomatoes, most grown in my own back yard- and in each jar we added appropriate canning salt, or, as required, sugar, or vinegar, or (in some rare cases) alcohol. Salt, alcohol, and vinegar inhibits bacteria and yeast, sugar inhibits mold (and some bacteria).
    It’s important to follow proper procedure for the exact type of food being preserved, or canned: acidic vs non-acidic foods, for example, or meats vs vegetables.
    If you really want to have true “organic” (I despise that term for its misleading inaccuracy, can you tell?) food: CAN OR PRESERVE IT YOURSELF using fresh produce (or meat) you have grown yourself or bought from a reputable farm or farmers’ market (or butcher).
    Botulism is caused by the botulin bacteria, which is ANAEROBIC (oxygen kills it), thus the presence of oxygen in canned goods DOES NOT promote botulism (commercially canned food has nitrogen puffed into the container just as the lid is sealed in place, which displaces the ambient air in the container). Typically, botulin grows in containers that were improperly sterilized, by food that was contaminated prior to or during processing, and/or by insufficient heating (cooking) prior to or during the canning process. Pressure canning (which I use almost exclusively) virtually eliminates the possibility of bacterial contamination, as the food is heated under pressure to well over 212F for several minutes (pasteurization very slowly heats milk to approximately 161F, and then cools it to room temperature, after which it is bottled and then chilled. Some processors pasteurize in the container. In the modern milking process, the milk is not exposed to ambient air from the time it leaves the cow until the consumer opens the bottle, and there are a number of checkpoints (where samples are drawn) along the way to make sure there is no bacterial contamination. The only way to make sure there is no possible bacteria is to buy “shelf stable” milk:
    “Shelf Stable Milk (also known as U.H.T. milk) uses a different process. The milk is heated to 282 degrees (thus the term Ultra High Temperature or U.H.T.) during pasteurization eliminating all bacteria in the process. Using Aseptic Technology* the milk is packaged in a special container that seals out light and air.”
    I’ve tried shelf stable milk. They say there is no difference in taste; I disagree. It isn’t unpleasant, it just isn’t- right. Fine, it goes in the “survival” pantry, and if it approaches the expiration date before the apocalypse, I’ll use it for cooking.

    Bottom line: if you don’t trust products packed in foil/mylar pouches or paper boxes, don’t buy them. Get the stuff packed in cans or (I prefer) jars, or can your own, or simply “juice” fresh vegetables or fruit with a good quality juicing machine.

  49. This ranks in the top ten of stories that are complete BS. Seriously? You took your kid to the freaking EMERGENCY ROOM when you noticed what you thought was green slime coming up the straw? I hope nobody that had an ACTUAL, life-threatening EMERGENCY was displaced because some ER doctor was tied up with this crap.

  50. Yikes that’s awful. I will never drink any boxed juices again ever. Yikes again.

  51. Its gross, i agree, but this could happen to ANY food we consume at ANY time. How many of us inspect the inside of a bag of chips before we dig in? my dad once at a bag of cheddar popcorn only to find a rat hole at the bottom of the bag….this is a relatively easy fix: Smell the juice and take a sip before your kids do. Its that simple. Teach them to smell things, inspect them before they ingest them. All my siblings have grown accustomed to checking EVERYTHING before they put it into their bodies, to the point where sometimes, yes, its a little annoying, but better annoyed than in the hospital.

  52. Rachel Wellard says:

    This article almost made me cry because recently I have noticed that I just cant go without high super and fat foods. I feel like its just like having a smoke. And Im very against smoking. I feel like Im digging my own grave cause the stress of being a single mom and having mental illness means stress and sadness eatting is becoming way over the top. Not to menation my six year old having a sweet tooth just like mommy. Although luckily she is a huge water fan. Is there a way to trick my brain or hypnotize myself into eatting less sweets ect. Help! On a different note is this story out of the states or Canada? Also I bought a bottle of blueberry juice that cost like 9 dollars. It says under ingredients (wild blueberries juice made from concentrate (spring water concentrated wild blueberries juice and natural blueberry flavor) is this better then say a cheaper juice? Thank you for reading

  53. NikosLikos says:

    Milk and fruit juices are pasteurized (cooked) to kill germs so that they cannot grow in the sealed containers, including juice boxes, while they remain sealed. Once the container is opened, germs from the air will enter and rapidly grow in the unused milk or juice if not refrigerated. Try this experiment at home: After you have opened and drank the contents in a juice box, cut open the juice box (don’t rinse it out first since germs will not grow) and leave it out on the counter. When you check a few days later you will find lots of similar green slim and mold like in the picture above which were NOT in the juice boxes before they were opened, unless of course the contain was damaged and the sterile seal broken. This is why you should not buy or consume the contents of cans that are dented…

  54. I am a dental hygienist, and let me tell you, I have seen many children with badly decayed teeth whose parents say, “I never give them soda, just juice.” Juice is high in natural sugars. The teeth and body can’t tell the difference between juice and kool aid. The only difference is that there is some nutritional value in the juice, in the form of vitamins. Sugar is sugar. It’s far better to eat the fruit, instead of drinking the highly concentrated form of sugar in the juices. There have even been studies done linking juice consumption in children to obesity.

  55. MICHELLE- You are grossly misinformed. Juice IS bad. Concentrated juice is FULL of sugar. If people drank 100 percent PURE fruit juice that they made from a juicer with no added sugar that would be healthier but store bought juices are not healthy. Even eating too much fruit isn’t a good idea. Eat a lot of fruit and you will see that you will gain weight. Fruit has natural sugar but just because something is natural doesn’t mean you can have a lot of it.

  56. The Juice is not the problem, the Box is !

  57. OMG!!!! Don’t drink juice!!!! How horrible…. like we as kids never had a mouldy piece of bread, or watched Mom shave the mould off of a block of cheese. For crying out loud, we have immune systems…. unfortunately for many people, they have atrophied from not being used. Wash this, sterilize that…. put your kids in a bubble so that germs and such never touch them……

    Ok, I agree….. processed sugars are not so good, and yes, most fruit DRINKS are very high in them. So, get the 100% juice. Yes, it is not the same as eating an apple/orange/grape/whatever, but, don’t force kids to drink gallons of the stuff. The best hydration vector is water, but kids like juices, and see them everywhere, and being kids, will want to “fit in”. Be responsibel, thinking human beings, rather than sheep. Take all the info you can find, and form an educated OPINION. It will be yours, and may not fit everyone, but at least it will be informed. Jeeze, if all the crap that “experts” say should harm our kids did, none of us would have hit puberty, let alone grown up to have children of our own……

  58. Crap, can’t spell, apparently… should be *responsible*……

  59. That’s pretty… disgusting.
    Thank goodness for the immune system and livers our bodies come with.

  60. @Rachel Wellard. Rachel, you should research the Candida Diet and Candida overgrowth. I used to come to tears and feel grief as if I had just lost a loved one when I tried to go without sugar. I thought I must have some terrible mental problem to experience so much emotion over sweets. It turned out to be a symptom of yeast overgrowth in the gut. Some people do not believe this happens but some nutritionists and physicians treat people for it. Also, food allergies can cause food cravings. Hope this info helps.

  61. Fermenting juice boxes? What this is, is ‘kindergarten pruno’.

  62. This goes to prove that we are too protective and scared of every tiny little thing that could possibly happen to our children. Think about it, years ago we had pull down crib rails, metal folding play pens, older children (4-12) sat in the back of a car without a booster seat, AND they drank juices with far worse things in them than today. What is happening is that every time any incident occurs to someone’s children, we assume it will happen to ours. Life comes with many many risks and dangers, and as much as we’d like to control it all and prevent our children from getting hurt from EVERYTHING, we can’t. And in worrying about things like a child consuming a little bit of mold or needing to boil a binky after it falls on the floor, we are breeding a generation of neurotic children with low immune systems. I choose to teach my child to be of strong body and mind.

  63. D. Green says:

    “But I recommended she cut out the juice, anyway. Why? Because juice is so full of sugar and calories that some have called it a gateway drug. Sugar ingestion can actually cause release of natural opiates (really). Opiate release stimulates the desire for other sweets and junk food. High salt and high fat foods can also trigger release of pleasure-inducing opiates. This is why so many people binge on ice cream, potato chips, and other favorite junk foods like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”

    Couple of problems with this.

    1 – Some have called sugar a gateway drug.

    Some have also said that aliens killed JFK but that doesn’t make it true. A proper source citation as to who the “some” are is needed here and it is sorely lacking.

    “Sugar ingestion can actually cause release of natural opiates (really)”

    Actually, no. The human body is incapable of producing opiates of any kind.

    Perhaps the non-ER pediatrician doctor is grossly mis-informing us about a reaction the body has that is similar to how the body responds to opiates. Evidence of such responses does exist as this article from the National Institute of Health shows:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

    That said, in no way does the human body produce opiates of any kind. That information is blatantly false and wrong.

  64. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable know-how about unpredicted
    emotions.

  65. Jordan Silver says:

    Its amazing to read the negativity of these comments of mother’s who have been “handing out juice boxes for 35+ years”. The more negative the comment the more ignorant the person. Ever heard the saying “wrong and strong”? An MD is taking the time to explain stuff to lazy parents who feed their kids crap in a box and there reaction is to shoot the messenger instead of actually trying to do whats best for their child. They would rather be angry and defensive than doing what is best. Juice is sugar, morons. Fruit is sugar. Water hydrates. Juice is dessert. There is obesity in North America for a reason: parents who don’tknow any better and when shown some insight, fight against it with righteous indignation and misplaced aggression (that is really against themselves) instead of learning from it.

  66. What a strange discussion. Does any of these parents ever think about feed their kids a nice piece of fruit? An apple, an orange, a peach, a box of strawberries, you name it. It’s much healthier and what’s more, your kids learn to eat natural things, just as they grow on the land. No additions, no processes that kill the nutrition. Another benefit: no chance of leaking into the bags. And it should be cheaper.

  67. This is very disturbing to me as a mother of a child with Type 1 Diabetes. I medically need to carry these things around with me to treat my child when she has low blood sugar….to prevent a trip to the ER!
    Your article is completely misleading. This is a result of a manufacturing packaging issue – a leak in the tetra pack, causing mold to grow. You should research this before writing about it. This can happen with ANY packaged food! This shouldn’t be why you aren’t giving juice child, but that is how people are reacting to this. I just about fell prey to this myself before reading your article. But most parents don’t read the entire article anyway.

  68. Cheryll R says:

    I, for one, am impressed that the juice is made up of “real food” such that mold would actually want to live off of it. Having seen pictures of pristinely preserved twinkies, unnaturally beautiful through the grace of science – I don’t mind throwing away a yucky juice box now and then.

  69. This happened to my kids with some unexpired Koolaid Jammers…and after contacting the company and explaining, they sent us coupons for more free Jammers, LOL! Why would I ever buy more?

  70. Amen @ Jordan Silver and others who have any sense of nutrition. Juice is sugar water with minimal benefits. It is far better to eat the actual fruit! I am amazed at the power of the food industry to dupe so many people into thinking they are giving their children healthy food when they most certainly are not. Sure, juice may be a better choice than soda, but neither option is the best choice for someone’s nutrition. Both soda and juice should be consumed in moderation/on rare occasions, if at all. It is always better to avoid anything processed/packaged.

  71. Wow!when I growing up,I drank juice,whole chocolate milk. All kinds of fattening foods. The obesity problem isn’t with the food. Its from children getting every single electronic device known to man and not getting outside to PLAY! Its from a lack of exercise. My mom remembers being ou

  72. Outside so much that the only time she went inside was to eat and go to bed.

  73. How can anyone think eating whole fruit and drinking fruit juice is the same thing? Fruit contains fiber that slows the absorption of sugar and you should never consume the amount of fruit in most juices in a single day. Even juicing at home with a mix of fruit and vegetables you’re probably giving your body a spike of fructose that is in no way healthy. You can still juice your veggies but get a vitamix or something like it for fruit so you’re not removing the fiber. Or just eat a piece of fruit :)

  74. Do your own juicing for you and your children that way you know what’s in it! Fruits and Vegetables! It’s cheaper too! Thanks for posting this.

  75. D. Mitch says:

    I used to be an insurance broker for a client that makes popular kids fruit drinks. They have quite a few claims of mothers finding slimy gunk in their kid’s fruit drink. Their explanation… If the product isn’t sealed properly, this can lead to air getting inside of the drink and mold developing. If the product isn’t sterilized correctly during preparation, the same could happen. It makes no different if the product is expired or if it is fresh. Also temperature extremes can lead to “moldy” drinks. How the juice is transported and stored before and after it is purchased is important.

    That being said, water is best. Or perhaps juice that is sold in a clear container.

  76. For all those who insist the ER visit was an overreaction, the package was compromised, the box had been sitting around for a month before being found with mold, concentrated juices (even those with no “added” sugar) are not unhealthy, and the body is incapable of producing opiates…read. Educate yourself. Educate others. Assume the M.D. MIGHT HAVE MORE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HEALTH CARE AND PREVENTION THAN YOU.

    Endogenous opioids are opiate-like substances produced within one’s own body that produce a similar perceptual and physiological response to exogenous opiates, such as drugs. Acting on the pleasure centers and stimulating the release(s) of certain neuropeptides/hormones in reaction to stimulation, these opioids (SUCH AS ENDORPHINS) are a physiological response to pain, pleasure, and many other factors.

    Juices, even 100% natural, are concentrated forms of fruit, which are already giant sugar pills. When you eat actual fruit, you’re consuming the natural sugars, but in far smaller doses. Along with the sugars, you’re also consuming fiber and various vitamins. Check the serving directions on a box or bottle next time, you’ll see the amount of sugar per serving is much higher than you’d really want your child consuming. The dentists aren’t lying to you, telling you to stop giving kids so much sugar because it’s rotting their teeth. They aren’t trying to mislead you in an attempt to MAKE LESS MONEY BY PREVENTING TOOTH DECAY rather than having to treat it.

    As far as the medical use of these juices in response to low blood sugar, finding another source of sugar (not like that should be difficult) might be in order rather than defending your practice. Attacking the article as an ouright lie or untruth is ignorant at best.

    If you took a microbiology course, or a parasitology course, or virology, or nutrition, or any number of courses, you wouldn’t hesitate to take a ‘just in case’ trip to the ER if you saw your child drinking green slime. The world can be terrifying once you know how much you don’t know and can’t see. Trust me, after a bad batch of water in Iraq I’m a little more cautious about foods and drinks. Even your tapwater can be contaminated by common parasites that current purification procedures don’t weed out. Giardia and cryptosporidium are no joke.

  77. So now that juice is bad, what are the kids going to drink? Soda? No. Kool-Aid. Nope. Energy drinks? No. So I guess we’re left with water. Oh good, I’m sure all kids will be totally fine with that.

    I swear these studies are done by people who don’t have children.

  78. Barbara says:

    OMG!!! After reading through a TON of posts here or the benefits and nonbenefits of Juice, I have never seen such a mishmash of true and false information on sugars and juices!! and the purpose of juices in a Healthy Balanced Diet……Lemme see what I can straighten out…Yes, juice boxes are bad…I have never ever in 28 years of my purchase of capri sun and other juice boxes have I seen anything gross come out of one..Ever!! and I bought a LOT of juice boxes raising my kids….But, Yes, GMO High Fructose Corn Syrup is very very bad for humans, and we need to start demanding a return of pure cane and beet sugars…without GMO crap involved at all! Moderate proper use of pure cane, beet and honey sugars have been proven over and over to be okay in a healthy well balanced diet unless someone is diabetic. Next….The mixture they call “juice” that comes in a capri sun or any other juice box, on top of having corn syrup in them, also is not the juice you think it is…it is usually some combination of apple and white grape juices with flavors added….unless it is pure orange, grape, etc…..Thirdly, Carbohydrates, especially from Fruits and Vegetables are very very important to a healthy well balanced meal. U cannot stay healthy without them. Making home-made juices from fresh fruit (organic is best) is the very best, most healthy way, to drink juice :) It is summertime, fruit is more and more abundant, break out the juicers, go picking berries, peaches, cherries, anything you can find and go to town with the juices, and combinations of fresh flavors…add little to no sugar, maybe some yogurt for a smoothie…Ice cream if you are seriously trying to gain weight, and can eat a little fat ….

  79. These need a “Like” button. Very comical responses. Personally, I drink water.

  80. “So what’s next water intoxication? Come up with an example of someone who passed away due to water intoxication and tell everyone to stay clear of water?????” – Henry

    @Henry

    Actually, there is such a thing as water intoxication. It is caused by drinking too much water (so much water that the cells in your body actually drown). It can be fatal. The first time I ever heard about it was when I saw something on TV involving some weird case where the parents of a 2 year old force fed there daughter water, because (according to them) the child’s doctors had recommended this (what they called “water therapy”) to get the child to calm down (she apparently had some sort of behavioural problem). The doctors said they never heard of such a treatment. It’s anybody’s guess who was lying. In any event, though, after the child threw up, she died.

    The second time I heard about it was after some lady died as a result of her participation (and winning) of a radio contest. The contestants were supposed to drink 2 gallons of water and not go to the bathroom so they could win a Wii gaming system. The lady who won was only 23 years old and had three children. She won, then died. I don’t remember names or anything, but it got into the news and the radio D.J.’s were being held responsible for her death. The contest was called something like the “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest. A nurse even called the radio show and told them about water intoxication and that it could be fatal.

  81. KStacey says:

    Wow. Amazing how many parents are screaming from the rafters to justify feeding their children sugar-water. (“but it’s naaaaaaatural!”) OK. You like to reward your children for existing with unnecessary daily liquid treats. And if it’s not coke or kool-aide, it must be healthy. Who could ever give the thirsty little dears water? The horror! The inhumanity! We get it.

  82. That’s a pretty pathetic and obvious back link for cheetos. Doesn’t do well for your credibility.

  83. I had the some thing but only with a glass bottle of Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. After I was half done with my drink there appeared to be a big green rubbery leaf in the bottle. It ended up being mold.

  84. Patti S. says:

    Here’s the thing…those juice boxes are not more harmful than cans that are comprimised, milk that wasn’t properly refrigerated, eggs left out, etc. I have used Capri Sun boxes here and there, and it’s not a big deal. Sure it’s gross. The funny thing is the doctor explains that the mold itself was harmless, but juice boxes are bad because of the sugars. I can’t argue with that. I personally think our country’s obesity problem has 100% to do with the things we DRINK, not eat.

    Plain and simple people…it’s better to eat fruit than juice it…whether you are the granola-at-home-juicer or you buy juice at the store. Whether organic or cheap. The whole fruit or veggie is better. PERIOD.

    Now there are some fruits that are just not easy to eat, like cranberries, pomegranates, acai and such. Those are good to juice, but look for the juices that are made with Stevia (e.g., Trader Joe’s makes a great one and cheaper than Ocean Spray). Why? Because any sweetner adds calories without nutritional value…so why not aim towards fewer calories?

    As for those who hide veggies in their kids’ juices or foods, etc., my guess is you didn’t make your kids’ babyfood. You want to see an industry that is abhorant, check out how much it costs to make babyfood and the nutritional value of it, and compare that to the jarred, organic crap they sell in the store. Why do US kids crave sugar? Oh, maybe because when they’re babies we introduce them to stupid cereals and pureed fruits? My kids ate what I ate. Real oatmeal whipped in a blender, real green beans, real pumpkin, real cauliflower. And they liked most of it and still eat it to this day. I have never and would never HIDE a veggie from my kids! That’s pure insanity.

  85. How many of you that leave these comments fed your babies premade baby food full of chemicals including arsenic? I give my oldest juice and when given the choice between fruit or veggies or junk food he picks fruits or veggies. His choice of drink is water but I do keep juice around for him. Be aware of what your giving your kids and dont judge others.

  86. Great article. As concerned parents we have created an alternative to Tetra Pak juice boxes. Check it out at juiceinthebox.com a better drink box.

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  87. And it is only when abnormal indicators begin occurring that people realize the poltential of
    the toxic substance. To assist in preventing mildew from forming keep the closet clean.

    Shake on any area with a fungal allergy.

  88. seriously??? i only read a 1/4 of these comments and my mind is blown at how ignorant some people are. How much real whole juice do you people think is in a capri-sun or juicy juicy?? close to none! Of course its bad for you to give these things to your kids! Im not saying dont ever give them to your kids but come on you cant be that naive to think that there is actually real juice in there!

  89. Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and
    actual effort to make a very good article… but what can
    I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never seem to get nearly
    anything done.

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