Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dr. Tim Solves Potential Food Safety Issue with Acai

AçaíImage by Breno Peck via Flickr

In the March 12, 2009 issue of FOOD SAFETY SMART Ho Phang reposts of a potential link of unprocessed Acai to a parasitic outbreak. He reports “the paste from Acai fruit has been implicated as the main cause of an outbreak of Chaga’s disease.” Chaga’s disease is caused from a parasite known as Tyrpanosoma cruzi. It can cause symptoms similar to the flu including fever, vomiting, aches, fatigue, diarrhea and a tell tale sign of right eye inflammation.

“Of course, there’s really no need to panic and toss out those bottles of Acai juice just yet. If the manufacturers of Acai juice are taking steps to kill parasites in the fruit before it gets into the juice, then the chances of you getting this parasite are small. There haven’t been any recorded cases of Chaga’s disease spread through Acai juice outside of Latin America” says Phang.

Here at Dr.Tim’s Exotic Juices we use the only proven method that ensures the destruction of this and any other potential hazardous organisms. We have always used our special flash pasteurization process to protect our customers. Understanding Chaga’s disease shows that it is very difficult to become infected with it here in the United States.

* Chagas disease is usually spread by the feces of reduviid bugs, insects that live in cracks and holes of poorly constructed houses and outbuildings in South and Central America. The bugs become infected after biting an infected animal or person. Once infected, the bugs pass Trypanosoma parasites in their feces. People get infected when they unknowingly rub bug feces into their eyes or mouth or into a skin wound or bite. People can also become infected by eating uncooked food contaminated with infected bug feces.
* Chagas disease can be transmitted by contaminated blood transfusions or by organ transplants.
* Infected women can pass the infection to their babies during pregnancy, at delivery, or while breastfeeding.

* Chagas disease primarily affects low-income people living in poorly constructed homes in rural areas in South and Central America. People who sleep in houses made from mud, adobe, or thatch are at greatest risk. The acute disease generally occurs in children, whereas chronic symptoms usually appear later in life. Persons with weakened immune systems are at risk of severe infections and complications.
* Travelers who stay in hotels, resorts, or other well-constructed housing facilities are not at risk for getting Chagas disease.

Flash pasteurization kills off any of the potential contamination threat created by this parasite. There have been no reports of infection linked to consumption of Acai juice outside of Brazil. Dr. Tim’s Exotic Juices all go through a flash pasteurization process to protect our great customers. This process does much to protect the enzymes and active elements of the juice.

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