A Prince Rupert family is alleging they became ill after consuming juice purchased at a local grocery store.
Olga Wilson said she purchased a one litre container of SunRype juice two weeks ago and served it to several members of her family, including herself and her neighbour’s young children.
The expiration date on the juice container was March 2013, however everyone who had consumed the juice ended up getting ill within 24 hours.
When Olga Wilson examined the container, she said she noticed something was clunking around inside of it. When she cut open the container, Wilson alleges she found a large chunky substance at the bottom.
Wilson took the specimen to the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital where doctors speculated it may have been fungal mould.
Wilson said doctors instructed her to go to Northern Health. Northern Health communications officer Eryn Collins confirmed that they did receive the complaint and forwarded it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Wilson also contacted SunRype headquarters in Kelowna where she said she was told the chunk could be mould that grew inside of the container due to a puncture in the box that could have happened during distribution.
After complaining to SunRype, the Wilsons were sent a letter of apology that stated the company “adheres to the highest quality standards in all of our manufacturing and quality assurance practices” and that the company works closely with the CFIA.
“It is possible the carton was damaged compromising the seal integrity and allowing air to enter the package. SunRype juices are pasteurized and do not contain preservatives. However, exposure to air can eventually lead to mould growth,” the letter signed by Sandra Hofer, manager of consumer services for SunRype, stated.
Also included in the letter was $20 worth of coupons for SunRype products.
Wilson, who still doesn’t know exactly what the substance was, said she was upset the company didn’t offer to do any tests on the unidentified chunk she found.
“I was told it could be a piece of fruit, but it doesn’t look like it at all,” Wilson said.
SunRype president and CEO Dave McAnerney told the Prince Rupert Northern View that finding any item in their products is extremely infrequent and could not speculate as to what made the Wilsons sick.
“Quality is of the upmost importance to SunRype… our quality programs are quite rigorous and we take a great deal of pride in our track record on quality and the frequency which we have concerns raised by consumers,” he said.
“Consumers can rest assured with our quality programs and standards coupled with the fact that juice is pasteurized and has a high acidity… all factors that inhibit growth of anything that can lead to an illness,” McAnerney said.