Failure to follow proper food processing procedures when turning Bugs Bunny’s favorite vegetable into juice can trigger a lethal pathogen called Clostridium botulinum bacteria that can grow in carrot juice.
The Food and Drug Administration said today that the neurotoxin formed by these bacteria, when ingested in even very small amounts, could cause paralysis, difficulty breathing and death from asphyxiation.
It has happened.
During 2006 – the last year for which statistics are available – six cases of botulism in the United States and Canada were linked to refrigerated carrot juice.
The FDA and the Justice Department has shutdown a Jamaica, N.Y.-based beverage company to prevent it from processing and distributing juice and other products.
The FDA said that Mystical One Juice are charged with violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by failing to have and follow a plan for certain juice products, such as the company’s carrot juice products.
Among the violations observed by FDA investigators were failures to adequately heat low-acid vegetable juices to destroy or prevent growth of dangerous microorganisms; properly clean food-contact surfaces; and maintain and monitor sanitation conditions at the manufacturing facility to prevent sources of possible food and water contamination.
Here is a link to more on botulism.