Reports that Capri Sun, the popular children's drink, has been found to contain mold or worms is a hot news item this week, fueled by a photo which appears to show a moldy cup of juice. What is the truth about this story?
The mold is real, but the worms likely aren’t.
Capri Sun contains no preservatives, which means mold can in fact grow if there are any breaches in the packaging, even a pinhole sized opening.
The photo (right) of a glass containing a murky, moldy Capri Sun mixture is what has fueled the latest controversy regarding mold in the juice pouches when it was posted earlier this week. Others have posted similar photos on the Capri Sun Facebook page. The photo has been circulated with the following caption:
WARNING TO ALL PARENTS: my friend Jennifer gave her son a capri sun Saturday and he told her it tasted funny. She took a sip and said it tasted like straight alcohol. Cut it open and it was nothing but mold inside. Evidently, this happens a lot. They say the lack of preservatives leaves them susceptible to fermentation. I will never let Delo drink another. FYI: this pouch expires April 2013 and we don’t own a delorian to go “back to the future” so it wasn’t expired. God bless, have a great day!
The Capri Sun Facebook page has been a hotbed of discussion on the topic. To their credit, Kraft – the distributor of Capri Sun – and the Capri Sun admins have been available to discussion on the matter. They have not denied that mold can grow in the pouches in certain circumstances, though they claim it is a rare occurrence. They address it on their website FAQ, and posted a response to the topic on Facebook:
We’ve noticed that there has been loads of discussion on Facebook around a photo of a Capri Sun pouch containing mold. The safety of our products and well-being of our consumers are our top priorities, and we appreciate your openness and the concerns that have been expressed here on our page. We feel it is important that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information from us.
While we have not had the opportunity to examine the affected product, the substance appears to be mold. When we have had the chance to have an independent lab analyze a sample in the past, it was confirmed to be similar to common bread mold. Among the many, many millions of pouches we sell each year, it does happen from time to time because the product is preservative free. A statement is included on all cartons telling consumers to discard any leaking or damaged packages. If mold does occur, we completely agree that it can be unsightly and gross, but it is not harmful and is more of a quality issue rather than a safety issue.
We regularly check our quality control records, product samples and recent consumer contacts for issues or patterns and we don’t see anything that indicates this is a broader problem. In regard to the use of clear pouches, we have tried that but found that combining two different packaging materials (front and back) created manufacturing problems. We welcome open feedback, as many of us are parents too, and care deeply about what our kids and your kids drink.
While we hope this as help answer some of your most pressing concerns, we invite you to visit our FAQ tab here for more information: http://on.fb.me/WsAyCQ
The response above hasn’t been enough for some people, who have taken to Facebook to lambaste the company. Their statement that the mold wasn’t harmful to ingest may be true, but it hasn’t sat well with some, who believe this represents a dismissive attitude.
Some have claimed to have found worms in Capri Sun packaging, but most agree that this was probably mold in the shape of the straw, which would in fact take on a worm-like appearance if the mold were drawn into the straw after insertion.
The mold issue arose again in July 2013. Once again, consumers are expressing concern on the official Facebook page. One official response has been repeated several times:
While extremely rare, it is possible for food mold to grow inside a pouch that has been punctured and is exposed to air, because Capri Sun does not use artificial preservatives. What usually forms is a common food mold, similar to what might grow on fruit or bread. Experts have told us there are no significant or long-term health effects associated with consuming this type of mold, though we understand how bad of an experience it can be.
The 2013 “outbreak” of Capri Sun mold stories is not the first time the problem has come to light.
- February 2012: A CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reported that a local mom was raising awareness of the mold problem when her daughter’s Capri Sun contained mold, and the pouch showed no leakage or holes.
- June 2012: Here is a rather extensive Capri Sun mold story from June 21, 2010 in the LA Times, in which a nearly identical situation is described.
- 2008: The issue was brought up in this Yahoo answers question.
Mold in Capri Sun juice pouches is possible, and the company admits that to be the case. Those pouches which show obvious signs of damage, puncture, or leakage are most likely to be affected. If you are worried about pouches in your home, the best thing to do is cut them open and pour them into a clear glass. This of course defeats the purpose of having a handy, portable juice pouch.
Article updated July 14, 2013