We’ve heard the stories before: parents finding mold in their children’s juice boxes–usually after the child has drunk some or all of the juice. The story that came out this week involved an autistic child who could not communicate with his mother that his juice tasted odd. The mother poured the juice into a cup and then realized it was moldy.

Most parents just hand juice boxes over and assume they are okay and of course most of the time they are correct. Juice boxes are, however, one of the only forms of juice packaging that prevents parents from seeing the juice before drinking.

Capri Sun has been the brain most often complained about. Capri Sun juices have no preservatives, so they are more at risk than other brands if exposed to air (and the inevitable mold spores). Kraft, the manufacturer of Capri Sun juice pouches, recently changed their packaging to pouches with a clear bottom so parents could see the juice before handing it over and that should put minds at ease.

Is it dangerous?

In an article about moldy juice boxes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, we learned: ‘”Moldy or fermented juice is not particularly dangerous to drink,” said pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann of St. Louis Children’s. But she took the opportunity to advise parents against giving juice to kids because of its sugar content and low nutritional value. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids eat whole fruits over fruit juice.’

What can you do to prevent exposure to mold from juice boxes?

Put juice in your own containers instead–there are lots of great DIY options for juice that will be drunk the same day and you can control the freshness of the juice and the cleanliness of the container.

Buy a brand you can inspect–vote with your pocketbook for brands that let you be sure their product is healthy.

Give it a squeeze–mold will only grow if the packaging has a hole that allows contaminants into the box or pouch. Squeeze the juice box and if it leaks, throw it away.

Our family leans more to water than juice but we have never come across a moldy juice box or pouch. How about you?

Mold spores are everywhere and if you give them half a chance, they will spread. Air + Moisture = Mold, whether in a juice box, a bathroom, a crawlspace or after a flood.