Per an FDA Media Release, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers of the vital importance of keeping carrot juice – including pasteurized carrot juice – refrigerated.
There are three cases of botulism in the state of Georgia associated with pasteurized carrot juice that may have been due to the product not being properly refrigerated. FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and health authorities in Georgia have been closely monitoring and continue to investigate these three cases of foodborne botulism.
On September 15, 2006, Georgia health authorities issued a press statement, which in part stated the following:
"…At this time we believe that these three cases are an isolated incident…. During the investigation, other community members have been identified as having purchased and consumed the same product from the same vendor within the past three weeks. These persons have not become ill or developed any symptoms. The fact that additional cases have not been identified suggests that the toxin was not present before the sale of the product…"
"Because botulism is such a potentially serious illness, we want to remind consumers that it is critical to refrigerate carrot juice for safety. Consumers should not keep carrot juice unrefrigerated," said Dr. Robert Brackett, Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
Inadequate refrigeration of carrot juice allows botulinum spores to multiply to the level at which they can cause illness.
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin, a nerve poison that under certain conditions is produced by Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium commonly found in soil. Botulism can be fatal and is considered a medical emergency.