The maker of Ceres has recalled the apple juice from several countries including Malawi due to high levels of toxins.
Pioneer Foods has launched the recall of certain 100% apple juice products, sold under its Ceres brand in a number of countries within the COMESA Free Trade Area including DRC, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This follows an investigation which has confirmed that a limited quantity of apple juice concentrate supplied to Pioneer for the production of the juice, contained elevated levels of patulin.
Patulin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin commonly found in apple juice concentrate and apple juice. The recall is based on the presence of this mycotoxin (patulin) exceeding 50 parts per billion (microgram/kg) which is the regulatory threshold.
Affected Ceres Juice which came to Malawi is Ceres Apple Sparkling 275 ml glass with Production Date 14.06.2021 / BB 14.06.2022 or juice with PD 15.06.2021 / BB 15.06.2022
The manufacturer has since urged consumers who have the affected products with the specific batch or date coding to return these products to the retailer from which they were purchased, to receive a full refund.
According to a statement from Pioneer, the company has already engaged the relevant South African regulatory authorities, as well as various African regulatory bodies including COMESA and various country-specific regulators.
Some of the affected products have been isolated by in-country customers and distributors with relevant authorities assisting and observing the destruction thereof, where relevant.
“The health and wellbeing of our consumers is of absolute importance to us, and hence when we identified the potential of a food safety issue, following in-house standard testing and engagement with one of our local suppliers, we immediately launched an internal investigation into all our 100% apple juice products,” said Pioneer Foods CEO Tertius Carstens.
“We have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure and with the interests of our consumers at heart, to launch a recall of products produced from the apple juice concentrate batch in question. This recall only affects a limited number of apple juice products. All other Ceres products remain safe for consumption.”