By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
Pioneer Foods is launching a 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.
Pioneer Foods Chief Executive Officer Tertius Carstens says the health and wellbeing consumers are of absolute importance to them.
“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, the investigation to date, has confirmed that a limited quantity of apple juice concentrate supplied to us, contained elevated levels of patulin. Based on these results the company took the decision to launch the recall,” he said.
Patulin is a naturally occurring mycotoxin commonly found in apple juice concentrate and apple juice.
Mr Carstens said that the recall is based on the presence of this mycotoxin (patulin) exceeding 50 parts per billion (microgram/kg) which is the regulatory threshold.
“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,” he said.
Mr Carstens said that Pioneer Foods has already engaged the relevant South African regulatory authorities, as well as various African regulatory bodies including COMESA and various country-specific regulators.
On Wednesday October, 13 the SA National Consumer Commission announced it is launching an investigation into the South African supplier of the apple juice concentrate
The affected product distributed within Kenya and Mauritius has all been isolated by the respective distributors in those countries and will not be released to the market to retail stores – therefore, it is highly unlikely that consumers will have access to this stock.