If You Want Preservative-Free Fruit-In-A-Pouch, Mold May Happen

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Another fruit pouch recall is opening old wounds on social media

Once again, a popular kid’s food item is under fire for possible contamination concerns. GoGo Squeez issued a voluntary recall for some of its applesauce packages over “quality concerns.”

Food product residue was found in two pumps at one of the production facilities, and so it was determined that some of this residue may have made it into the finished product. There have been no illnesses reported and the recall was voluntary. GoGo Squeez has stopped all production at the facility until they can determine what caused the residue to stay behind. This is how they describe what exactly the residue is:

“Based on our experience, we believe the residue is buildup of applesauce, or apple puree. We shave off the skin of the apple and crush the apple into an apple puree in the early stages of our process. Later, our pasteurization process is set up to take care of any contaminants of public safety concern, so we do not believe the buildup of apple puree to be a health hazard. Additionally, we test our applesauce extensively, and at this time, we have not seen any evidence of this in our pouches. In an abundance of caution, we are recalling some products.”

As recalls go, this one is pretty benign. No illnesses reported. Voluntary. But just its mention is stirring up issues parents have had with the pouches, specifically that they’ve found mold. As Buzzfeed wrote yesterday, “parents have been complaining for months about finding mold in their snacks.”

To be clear, there was no mold found this time around. But it’s not stopping people from linking the situations and freaking out that they may be feeding their children mold.

And the paranoia is understandable. No one wants to feed their kid a product that a company is voluntarily recalling, and images like this all over the media do not help ease one’s mind:

This may be one of those times though, where we should just step back and take a breath. There have been zero reports of illness. And everyone seems to be taking the company’s message of “food residue” and immediately linking that to “mold.” There has been no mention of mold. But even if there were, can I be the first to say…

big, freaking deal.

We want to give our kids preservative free food. That’s awesome. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We don’t want to make it ourselves, because, come on. Who the hell has the time to do that? So we want to purchase our preservative-free fruit pouches and confidently feed them to our children.

Guess what? If you are purchasing preservative-free food, there is a chance that mold will happen. It’s called science.

If fresh fruit is exposed to air, there is a possibility that mold can form. The tiniest, microscopic, not-visible-to-the-naked-eye puncture to the pouch could make this happen. If we are gung-ho about feeding our kids fresh fruit (as we should be) we should also not be totally surprised when an absolutely natural occurrence — mold — happens.

You know that story that surfaces every few years about how a McDonald’s Happy Meal will not mold if left out forever? (This has been proven wrong, by the way). People freak about that! They cannot believe food will not exhibit the natural signs of deterioration that it should. Then on the other hand, when they witness something completely natural happening with their food product — mold — they freak the hell out, too. What exactly is it that we want? If the answer is that we want our natural food to never be treated with preservatives but also be completely immune to mold — sorry. Not possible.

The company has been individually responding to every complaint and question on their Facebook page. Frankly, if a company experiences this kind of situation and deals with it with full transparency and a voluntary recall of products, I would be more inclined to buy their stuff, not less.

If natural fruit products are going to come in pouches, they should be clear. That would solve so much of this potential freak-out. Until that happens, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised if something as naturally occurring as mold actually occurs. It’s gross, but so is the back of our fruit drawer if we don’t get to all of the fruit in it in time. After one of the last mold stories happened — the Capri Sun incident — experts from the Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said this about ingesting mold: “it may be unappetizing and upsetting to the stomach, but it’s usually not medically dangerous.”

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