The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and Pepin Heights Orchards have advised consumers to avoid drinking certain Pepin Heights brand Honeycrisp 100 Percent Fresh Pressed Apple Cider after department laboratory tests found some product may be contaminated with a mycotoxin called patulin.

The affected product was sold in 64-ounce (half gallon) plastic jugs, featuring a “USE BY” date of FEB 09 12. Any consumers with this product at home are asked to discard it. The affected product was distributed in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Other product lots have been tested and are not included in this advisory.

The cider was tested as part of a routine surveillance sampling program by the MDA, which confirmed that the apple cider contained patulin at levels of 58 parts per billion. This level is higher than the 50 parts per billion limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Patulin is a mycotoxin that can be found in fruits, vegetables and other foods. Patulin is formed by certain kinds of fungi that sometimes grow on or in these products. Patulin is not eliminated by pasteurization.

No illnesses have been associated with this patulin contamination. While the short-term health effects of patulin are not clearly established, FDA has identified long-term exposure to the substance as a potential concern.