O'FALLON, Mo. (KSDK) -- If you're eating or drinking right now, especially a juice box, you might want to set it down for a moment.
A non-edible, disgusting slime was found in a child's juice box, and is prompting a warning from doctors at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
A thick green mold coated the edges of the box and the O'Fallon, Mo. mom was worried it was going to make her 10-year-old daughter sick.
"I went on line and started looking stuff up and found out it was mold and I wasn't sure if it was toxic so I took her to the emergency room," said Julie Herbert.
Doctors say, the mold is nothing new. If a tiny bit of air gets into a juice box through a microscopic hole, sugars ferment, not only turning the product into a form of alcohol, but since there are no preservatives, it permits mold to grow.
The good news is that moldy juice isn't life-threatening. It can give you an upset stomach and totally gross you out, but it won't kill you.
Still, doctors are recommending cutting juice out all together. Why? Because juice is so full of sugar and calories that some have called it a gateway drug to obesity.
"You have to ask yourself, do your kids really need this? and the answer is no." She added, Kids just don't need the sugar of juice. People say it's so much better than soda. Well, it doesn't have artificial stuff soda does, but it still has the sugar, and what's wrong with water? That is the take home lesson," said Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann, a pediatrician with St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Shannon King with Nestle, USA issued the following statement: "We completely understand the concern about mold and assure our consumers that the safety of our products and health of our customers, especially the children who drink our juice, is of the utmost importance to us. Juicy Juice does not contain any artificial ingredients or preservatives and spoilage can, in very rare circumstances, occur if the packaging was damaged in any way and due to the natural sugars in juice. There have been no other mold complaints for this date code or similar date codes from the same factory for this product. We believe this was an isolated incident."
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers this guidance regarding kids and fruit juice:
- Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 6 months of age, unless directed by your physician. Occasionally small amounts of fruit juice may be recommended as a treatment for constipation.
- In children ages 6 months to 6 years old, fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit over whole fruit. Whole fruits also provide fiber and other nutrients.
- If you do let your kids drink fruit juice, do not allow your child to carry a sippy cup, bottle or box of juice throughout the day. Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/d for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.
Never serve your kids unpasteurized juice.
- These recommendations are for 100 percent fruit juice, which differs from juice drinks. Fruit drinks often provide little to no nutritional benefit.