South African food and beverage maker Pioneer Foods has recalled its Ceres apple juice brands sold in seven Comesa markets, including Kenya and Uganda.

The recalled brands were found to contain high levels of patulin, a fruit-based mold toxin that causes nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Competition Commission said Pioneer Food informed it that the affected juice brands were on sale in Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“In view of the foregoing… the Commission would like to inform the general public to exercise caution and avoid the purchase or consumption of the recalled products,” said the regional trading bloc’s competition watchdog in a statement on Wednesday.

Further, consumers have been advised to “return the products where they were purchased for a refund or replacement.”

The Ceres apple juice recall comes barely a week after Pioneer Foods recalled its LiquiFruit apple juice brands sold in South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.

The South African firm said its investigation had confirmed that “a limited quantity of apple juice concentrate supplied to them contained elevated levels of patulin, a mold toxin mainly found in rotting apples.”

“The recall is based on the presence of patulin in a concentration of more than 50 parts per billion (ppb), which is the regulatory threshold,” said CEO Tertius Carstens.

Products

The recalled products are Ceres apple juice 200ml and Ceres apple 275ml sparkling glass on sale in DRC, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Others are Ceres apple juice one-liter selling in Kenya, Uganda, DRC, Mauritius, and Zambia; and Ceres apple juice 200ml being sold in Seychelles.

Ceres Apple 4x6x200ml

  • Single unit barcode: 6001240200018
  • Date coding: PD 14.06.2021 / BB 14.06.2022
  • PD 21.06.2021 / BB 21.06.2022
  • PD 22.06.2021 / BB 22.06.2022

Ceres Apple Sparkling 275 ml glass

  • Single unit barcode: 6001240222676
  • Date coding: PD 14.06.2021 / BB 14.06.2022
  • PD 15.06.2021 / BB 15.06.2022

Ceres Apple 12×1 litre

  • Single unit barcode: 6001240100011
  • Date coding: PD 17.06.2021 / BB 17.06.2022
  • PD 18.06.2021 / BB 18.06.2022
  • PD 21.06.2021 / BB 21.06.2022
  • PD 22.06.2021 / BB 22.06.2022

LiquiFruit

Other recalled products are the LiquiFruit Clear Apple 250ml carton, the LiquiFruit Clear Apple 330ml can, and the LiquiFruit Clear Apple one-litre carton.

The World Health Organisation states patulin, which is classified as a mycotoxin, is a naturally occurring toxin created by certain molds found in apples and apple products.

The risk of consuming patulin exceeding 50ppb may lead to vomiting, nausea, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

The Pioneer Foods product recall comes a week after Coca-Cola South Africa also recalled certain batches of Appletiser, reportedly due to high patulin levels.

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