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Ceres apple juice brands recalled from African markets

South African food and beverage manufacturer Pioneer Foods has recalled its Ceres apple juice brands that were sold in Kenya and other Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries due to contamination owed to mould toxins. The recalled brands were detected to have high levels of patulin, a fruit-based mould; the World Health Organisation (WHO) says when the mould is consumed it can cause nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, and vomiting.

The South African firm, Pioneer Foods, said that its investigation had confirmed that “a limited quantity of apple juice concentrate supplied to them contained elevated levels of patulin, a mould toxin mainly found in rotting apples.”

“The recall is based on the presence of patulin in a concentration of more than 50 parts per billion (ppb), which is the regulatory threshold…” the company said.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Competition Commission on Wednesday also said Pioneer Foods had informed it that the affected juice brands had been imported and marketed in several countries.

“In view of the foregoing…the Commission would like to inform the general public to exercise caution and avoid the purchase or consumption of the recalled products…” said COMESA in a statement.

On Wednesday afternoon products of the Ceres apple juice brands were reportedly still retailing in several retail outlets within Kenya’s Capital, Nairobi. COMESA is calling on consumers to return the products.

“If the above products were already purchased, consumers are advised to return the products where they were purchased for a refund or replacement.” said COMESA.

The World Health Organisation states patulin, which is classified as a mycotoxin, is a naturally occurring toxin created by certain moulds that can be found in apples and apple products. The risk of consuming patulin exceeding 50μg/l may lead to vomiting, nausea and gastrointestinal symptoms