Unbelievably Large Mold Formation Found in Minute Maid Orange Juice

As a mother and someone who has worked in the food and bev industry for most of my adult life- I’ve seen mold and wouldn’t usually give it a second thought- this is beyond a little fuzzy blue coating. This does not grow in 1 week of being open. I too was skeptical of people finding odd things in their food, until it happened to my family.
The juice did not taste off, maybe slightly thin. It was meant to expire on April 15 2013. It was always stored in the fridge once opened. Prior to being opened, it was stored in our cold garage. I have pictures of the undamaged shipper (cardboard packaging only open on either end) that this juice came from Costco in. There is a foil lining in the tetra pak, which is unblemished. The package had been open a week, 1/2 the juice was still in the 1L container when we saw a small piece of slimy mold fall into the glass we were pouring. As we proceeded to pour out the juice and toss the container into recycling, we felt a “thunk” as whatever was inside slid to the top and a small piece was sticking out of the opening. We waited a day to see if we could find anything on the internet that resembled what we could see sticking out but could find nothing. I didn’t want to open the packaging fearing Minute Maid would accuse us of tampering. My active imagination, and several hours of googling later, I had to know what it was as it seemed big. I emailed Minute Maid that evening then the next day we videoed cutting into the package and sent all the info to Minute Maid.
March 1, we opened the 1L tetra pak,(we had already consumed 3 L in our 12 L case we purchased in Dec. from Costco) my daughter had about 2-3oz of the juice and by the time she got to school was vomiting bile. I thought she was just coming down with something as it is cold/flu season. She had no appetite, but developed no further symptoms of a cold/flu. She wasn’t given any juice over the weekend, and felt fine enough to go to school Monday. Monday after dinner she had another small glass of juice (2-3 oz) and threw up again later that night. The next day she didn’t feel like eating so I made her a banana and yogurt smoothie with enough orange juice to allow the blender to work , say 1/4 cup, unknowingly giving her what was making her sick. Again she was sick that night and again in the morning. Both Wednesday and Thursday evening I myself had a glass of juice mixed with sprite and was awoken with an asthma attack around 3am both nights- at the time thinking I must be getting what my daughter had as one of my triggers is a cold- which never developed either. It wasn’t until Friday, when we poured it out and saw what looked like a tumour sticking out of the opening, that it all made sense as I am also allergic to mold and mildew. Coke in Atlanta responded by offering us a gc -they didn’t specify how much- for our inconvenience. My kid missed 5 days of school! They are now coming by for a sample to be tested. My concern is how often does this happen? If it wasn’t as large as the piece we found, would I even have noticed and just thrown the container into the recycling and chalked my kid’s illness up to just a random bug? The Canadian Health inspection agency says that this can occur in a pin hole perforation , naked to the human eye. If that was the case, then why did the container expand while taking air in when I lifted the tab – a sign of a proper seal?
Needless to say my kids are turned off oj and we are now decanting other juice we have in tetra paks, into a glass decanter until finished. Then off to purchase a juicer, as convenience just isn’t worth our health.

Post time: 04-21-2017