43% of Orange Juices in Spanish Bars and Restaurants Have High Level of Bacteria

Orange Juice
Nearly half the juices served in bars and restaurants are contaminated. Photo by SINC.

43% of Orange Juices in Spanish Bars and Restaurants Have High Level of Bacteria
El País: El 43% de los zumos de naranja de los bares tiene bacterias
Emilio de Benito reporting from Madrid December 13, 2011

43% of the natural orange juices served in bars and restaurants have bacteria levels higher than the legal limit, according to a University of Valencia analysis of 190 batches. The study was published in the Food Control journal.

Specifically, the analysis distinguished the presence of Enterobacteriaceae, a family that, in general, causes fermentation and oxidation in food, which decreases the nutritional quality of the juice. The most dangerous members of this family include Escherichia coli and salmonella, which can provoke grave digestive disorders. The researchers also discovered that the prevalence of airborne mesophiles, which can survive at 25-40°C (77-104°F) and which include fungus and yeast, exceeded the legal limit by an average of 12%.

The contamination is much worse if the juice is produced beforehand and stored in a metallic container rather than made directly for consumption, according to the authors of the study. That increases the enterobacteriaceae percentage by 81%. When the juice was served directly into a glass, the percentage decreased by 22%, which indicates that part of the contamination comes from jars that are insufficiently washed.

In 2009, people in Spain drank 138 million liters of orange juice, according to Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs data; around 40% of that was in natural form from catering establishments.

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