What is Unpasteurized Juice and Is It Safe? (2023)

You may not see the term “unpasteurized juice” too often. But actually, unpasteurized juices have been one of the most popular nutrition trends of the past couple of decades.

You might know of unpasteurized juice by terms like “raw” or “fresh squeezed” juice.

Juice bars often sell them, and various diet fads, such as fasting and juice cleanses, encourage you to make them at home. Perhaps for these reasons, many people associate unpasteurized juices with nutrition and assume they’re healthy.

However, while it’s true unpasteurized juices can be rich in health-promoting nutrients, they also have health risks.

In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that pregnant people and children avoid unpasteurized juices altogether (1).

Yet many people remain unaware of these risks (2).

This article squeezes out the facts about unpasteurized juice, including how it’s made, who it’s safest for, and when to use caution with it.

What is Unpasteurized Juice and Is It Safe? (1)Share on Pinterest

Heat pasteurization is a process used to treat foods and beverages. It makes them safer for human consumption and prevents products from spoiling as quickly as they would without pasteurization.

In this process, products are generally heated to a temperature around 135°F (57°C) for a few minutes to kill any dangerous pathogens or microorganisms that might be present in them (3).

Juice is not the only product that undergoes pasteurization. Eggs, honey, wine, beer, milk, cheese, and other dairy products are commonly pasteurized as well.

Alternatively, juice may be pasteurized using a process called high pressure processing (HPP), also called pascalization. HPP applies pressure instead of heat. It destroys dangerous organisms in juice and extends its shelf life, though not for quite as long as pasteurization (4).

Unpasteurized juice has not undergone pasteurization or HPP, so it’s not sterilized.

Here are some terms to be aware of when you’re looking at juice labels:

(Video) Pasteurized versus Unpasteurized Orange Juice

  • Cold-pressed. This term refers to the method used to extract juice from whole fruits and vegetables. Cold-pressed juice can be raw, pasteurized, or treated using HPP.
  • Raw. This may be cold-pressed or extracted in other ways, but it’s never treated with pasteurization or HPP. In the United States, raw juice is required to have a warning label unless it’s sold at the same location it was made.
  • Fresh. Similar to raw juice, fresh juice that doesn’t clearly state it’s been pasteurized or treated with HPP likely has not been treated at all and will only have a shelf life of a few days.

You can usually determine whether juice is pasteurized based on how it’s packaged.

How to identify pasteurized juice

Juice has likely been pasteurized if it is:

  • canned
  • boxed
  • a juice concentrate
  • labeled as shelf-stable

How to identify unpasteurized juice

On the other hand, unpasteurized juices are often:

  • refrigerated bottles (though some of these may be pasteurized)
  • in health food stores
  • at farmer’s markets
  • from juice bars
  • made at home
  • used for juice cleanses
Summary

Pasteurization uses heat to extend shelf life and kill dangerous organisms that may be present in fruit and vegetable juices. Unpasteurized juices have not been treated and thus must be refrigerated and consumed within a few days.

Answering this question is not as simple as yes or no.

Often the fruits and vegetables used to make unpasteurized juice have been cleaned and treated properly throughout their lifespan, and the juice is stored safely. In these cases, unpasteurized juice can be enjoyed safely with very few risks or side effects.

However, in other instances, if produce has been contaminated with a pathogen capable of causing foodborne illness, or if juice has been stored improperly or kept for more than a few days, the risks associated with drinking unpasteurized juice increase greatly.

Who should avoid unpasteurized juice?

Unpasteurized juice is especially risky for people who are sensitive to foodborne illness, including those who are:

  • pregnant and breastfeeding
  • immunocompromised
  • older people
  • young children

In fact, the FDA suggests that pregnant people and children avoid unpasteurized juices completely (1).

A recent study of more than 78 unpasteurized fruit juice samples found as many as 86% of the juices were contaminated with bacteria and 33% contained concerning amounts of Escherichia coli — a common type of bacteria known to cause severe illness (5, 6).

(Video) The Dangerous of Unpasteurized Juice

Though in this study the researchers also noted a link between juices that were contaminated and the hygiene and safety practices used by the makers of the juice (6).

Still, several other studies have confirmed samples of fruit and vegetable juices were contaminated with an array of pathogens capable of making you sick, such as the Trypanosoma cruzi and Cryptosporidium parasites and Salmonella bacteria (7, 8, 9, 10).

Another study identified more than 100 different strains of bacteria from 60 samples of fruit juice sold by street vendors. Just because juice contains bacteria does not automatically make it dangerous, but in this case many samples contained dangerous amounts (11).

Summary

Most people’s immune systems can safely process the small amount of bacteria usually present in raw juice. However, those who are sensitive to foodborne illness should use greater caution with unpasteurized products.

Juice of any type is a good source of many nutrients (12).

Many people are under the impression that fresh, unpasteurized juice is more healthy and nutritious than pasteurized juice. But actually, much of the research on the topic is conflicting.

One study on kiwi juice found that pasteurization lowered the total amount of phenols, flavonoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and fiber present in the juice, but only by a little bit (13).

A study on orange juice found heat pasteurization and HPP both caused decreases in carotenoid levels and antioxidant activity (14).

It found pasteurization also lowered levels of the beneficial plant compounds flavonoids and anthocyanins, but interestingly, HPP actually increased flavonoids (14).

Another study on passion fruit juice also found that pasteurized samples contained greater amounts of phenolic compounds, lycopene, carotenoids, and greater antioxidant activity than unpasteurized samples (15).

Though it was lower in a few other nutrients, including beta carotene and provitamin A (15).

What’s more, it appears that pasteurization is not the only factor that influences how many nutrients juices retain. The temperature at which they’re stored, and the length of time they’re kept for also appear to have a strong influence (16, 17).

Even most of the studies that have observed differences in nutrient contents between fresh and pasteurized juices have noted that the difference is often minor. There seems to be great variability in nutrient content depending on the type of juice and other factors (18).

Overall, you shouldn’t feel like opting for pasteurized juices means sacrificing nutritional value.

(Video) Truth About Pasteurization, Energy Drinks, Juices, And Dangers of Preservatives

Summary

Any time a product like juice is treated with a process like pasteurization, this may alter the product’s nutritional profile. But often the difference is negligible, and in some cases pasteurization even helps retain or increase certain nutrients.

Aside from the risk of illness, there are a few other downsides of unpasteurized juice you might want to know about.

Shorter shelf life

One of the main downsides of fresh juice is that it will spoil much quicker than pasteurized juice. The pasteurization process extends the shelf life of juice. This is why you’ll only find fresh, unpasteurized juice in the refrigerated section of grocery stores.

In general, unpasteurized juice stays fresh for only about 3 days while pasteurized juice may last for months or even years as long as it’s unopened.

Cost

Another downside of fresh unpasteurized juice is that it’s often significantly more expensive than pasteurized juice. In fact, raw fresh juice can be as much as five times more expensive than pasteurized juice.

This is not to suggest that one is necessarily better than the other — both fresh and pasteurized juices have their pros and cons. These are simply factors to consider when deciding which type is best for you.

Summary

Unpasteurized raw juice tends to be notably more expensive than pasteurized products. It also has a much shorter shelf-life and must be consumed within a few days after it’s made.

Drinking unpasteurized juice carries a risk of foodborne illness. However, that doesn’t mean that all unpasteurized juice will make you sick, or that you should avoid it completely, especially if you don’t fall into an at-risk group.

Most people’s immune systems are well-equipped to manage the small amounts of bacteria typically present on fresh produce or in raw, unpasteurized juice. Still, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk when enjoying unpasteurized juice.

Find out what you’re consuming

First things first — always know what kind of juice you’re drinking. Unpasteurized juice may also be in ciders, artisan ferments, and even cocktails, so if you’re unsure whether or not a drink contains unpasteurized juice, it’s best to check with the seller (19, 20).

If juice has been pasteurized or treated with HPP processing, it should state that clearly somewhere on the label. Further, if juice is bottled or boxed and not refrigerated, you can assume it’s pasteurized or processed with a similar treatment to make it shelf-stable.

(Video) Cold Pressed Juice vs. Pasteurized Juice. What's the difference?

Most unpasteurized juices sold at grocery stores and markets are required to carry a warning label. However, raw juices sold at restaurants, juice bars, and farmers markets where the juice has been made are not required to carry such labels.

Prepare it safely

When making your own fresh juice at home, remember to thoroughly wash the produce you plan to use as well as your equipment to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

Also, be sure to properly refrigerate your fresh juice and consume it within a few days (21).

Consider boiling it

If you only have fresh unpasteurized juice available to you, but are worried about the risk of illness, one option is to bring the juice to a low boil and then let it cool again before you drink it (1).

Summary

Before drinking juice, be sure to find out if it’s pasteurized. If not and you’re worried about catching a foodborne illness, bring the juice to a low boil on the stove for a few minutes and then let it cool before drinking it.

Many types of raw and fresh-squeezed juice are unpasteurized, including juice made at home or sold at juice bars and restaurants.

Unpasteurized juice is more likely to contain harmful microorganisms, such as those that can cause food poisoning, whereas pasteurized juice carries a much lower risk.

For many people, unpasteurized juice can be healthy and safe. But for those with compromised immune systems — like children, older people, and pregnant people — unpasteurized juice is more likely to cause severe foodborne illness.

If you fall into one of those groups, the good news is you can safely enjoy pasteurized juice products without sacrificing nutrition. And they’re often much cheaper, too.

Just one thing

Try this today: If you’re looking to boost your nutrient intake, but you’re worried about the risk of bacterial contamination from juice, try incorporating more whole fresh fruit into your diet instead, making sure to wash it well before you eat it.

(Video) WHY is orange juice pasteurized? 🤔

Here’s a list of nutrient-packed fruits to consider for your shopping list.

FAQs

What is unpasteurized juice? ›

Unpasteurized or Untreated Juice

WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Are unpasteurized juices safe? ›

Did You Know? When fruits and vegetables are fresh-squeezed or used raw, bacteria from the produce can end up in your juice or cider. Unless the produce or the juice has been pasteurized or otherwise treated to destroy any harmful bacteria, the juice could be contaminated.

What kind of juices are unpasteurized? ›

Most of these outbreaks involved unpasteurized juices and ciders such as apple cider, orange juice and lemonades. Other fresh fruit juices such as pineapple, carrot, coconut, cane sugar, banana, acai and mixed fruit juices have also made people ill. The most common pathogens in unpasteurized juice are E.

Is unpasteurized juice safe during pregnancy? ›

It's not safe to drink unpasteurized juice while you're pregnant, because it may contain harmful bacteria from the raw fruits and vegetables used to make the juice. These bacteria can cause food poisoning (illnesses such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis), which can be especially dangerous during pregnancy.

Is cold pressed orange juice unpasteurized? ›

The cold-pressed juicing method mechanically presses the vegetable or fruit to squeeze out the juice. The juice is exposed to very high pressure (but not heat) during bottling and then refrigerated. It is not pasteurized, but the high pressure and refrigeration prevent bacteria from growing in the juice.

How likely is it to get sick from unpasteurized juice? ›

For many people, unpasteurized juice can be healthy and safe. But for those with compromised immune systems — like children, older people, and pregnant people — unpasteurized juice is more likely to cause severe foodborne illness.

Which is better pasteurized or unpasteurized juice? ›

By pasteurizing juice, pathogens (germs), which may be present in the liquid, are killed. The other 2 percent of unpasteurized juice or cider may contain harmful bacteria that make some people sick.

What fruits should not be juiced? ›

Complete List of Fruits & Vegetables That Should Not Be Juiced
  • Rhubarb.
  • Figs.
  • Eggplant.
  • Bananas.
  • Berries.

What are the benefits of unpasteurized juice? ›

Our unpasteurized juices are fresh, nutritious, delicious and retain if not all most of the live enzymes, phyto-chemicals and micro-nutrients that are great for your body while preventing inflammation and other disorders.

Is Mott's apple juice unpasteurized? ›

100% real fruit juice. Unsweetened. Pasteurized.

Is Minute Maid orange juice pasteurized? ›

The juice is pasteurized to ensure safety, but as minimally as possible to preserve taste. How does Minute Maid Orange Juice have such great taste? Minute Maid Orange Juice never contains synthetic flavors, additives, or preservatives.

Is apple juice unpasteurized? ›

Apple juice is juice that has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer.”

What is the healthiest juice to drink while pregnant? ›

List of 6 Best Juices for Pregnancy
  • Pomegranate Juice.
  • Apple Juice.
  • Carrot Juice.
  • Orange Juice.
  • Beetroot Juice.
  • Lemon Juice.
Jun 25, 2022

What juice can you not drink while pregnant? ›

Orange juice contains potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure. However, avoid orange juice or any other type of fruit juice that's raw or freshly squeezed during pregnancy because these can be unsafe.

Which fruit juice should be avoided during pregnancy? ›

Pineapple – These are also not recommended to the pregnant women as they contain certain enzymes that alters the texture of cervix which could induce premature contractions.

Is Tropicana orange juice unpasteurized? ›

Safety Always. Next, the fresh juice is flash pasteurized – a process developed by Tropicana to minimize the time the orange juice is exposed to heat while providing maximum nutrition and flavor. Pasteurization makes products such as juice and milk safe to drink.

What orange juice brands are pasteurized? ›

For the last 30 years, the citrus industry has used flavor packs to process what the Food and Drug Administration identifies as "pasteurized" orange juice. That includes top brands such as Tropicana, Minute Maid, Simply Orange and Florida Natural, among others.

Why do people drink unpasteurized? ›

Raw milk advocates argue that it's a complete, natural food containing more amino acids, antimicrobials, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids than pasteurized milk. They also claim that it's a better choice for those with lactose intolerance, asthma, and autoimmune and allergic conditions.

What happens if you drink unpasteurized apple cider? ›

What are the risks? Unpasteurized juice/cider can be contaminated with viruses and harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium parasites. Fruit used to make juice and cider can become contaminated in the farm environment, through handling, processing or transportation.

Is unpasteurized apple cider vinegar safe to drink? ›

Apple cider vinegar that remains unpasteurized carries a risk of bacteria like E. coli or salmonella. Before you use apple cider vinegar, check that it's pasteurized properly. Most store-bought apple cider vinegar is pasteurized, but check the label to make sure.

Is unpasteurized apple juice healthy? ›

Unpasteurized or raw apple cider and other juices can contain harmful bacteria that can make people sick. Without pasteurization, or some other heat treatment to kill bacteria, pathogens can remain in the juice or cider.

How long does fresh unpasteurized juice last? ›

Juices can be stored in the fridge for 24-48 hours and up to 72 hours at the absolute most. When needing to store juices for longer than that, you then need to freeze them. If freezing, it is advisable to not fill them right to the top to allow room for expansion.

Why can you not juice a banana? ›

Bananas are one of the few fruits that really can't be juiced. They have far too high of a fiber-to-juice ratio. However, that doesn't mean you should overlook the taste and nutrition of bananas. Instead of juicing them, process them in a blender.

What should you not mix when juicing? ›

11 Things You Should Never put in a Juicer
  • Broccoli. Broccoli has a high vitamin C content, so a lot of people think it will make a good addition to their green juices, but broccoli can be difficult to digest. ...
  • Avocado. ...
  • Whole Apples. ...
  • Coconut. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Pears. ...
  • Pineapple. ...
  • Whole Citrus Segments.

Why we should not drink juice while eating? ›

A third popular argument against drinking liquids with meals states that fluids increase the speed at which solid foods exit your stomach. This is thought to reduce the meal's contact time with stomach acid and digestive enzymes, resulting in poorer digestion.

Is lemonade unpasteurized? ›

Lemonade can be pasteurized or unpasteurized, regular or diet, store-bought or homemade, and more! Therefore, there are many varieties to discuss!

How do I know if the fruit juice product that Im buying is pasteurized? ›

If you are not sure if the juice or cider you want to buy is pasteurized, look for the word "UNPASTEURIZED" or "NON PASTEURISÉ" on the label. If there is no indication on the label, ask the vendor or phone the information number displayed on some products.

Is Starbucks apple juice pasteurized? ›

As Starbucks is an international chain that uses prepackaged and shelf-stable juices, it is safe to assume the juices in their Refreshers are pasteurized, and therefore safe to enjoy while pregnant.

Is Simply Orange juice unpasteurized? ›

Since the launch of Simply Orange in 2001, our not-from-concentrate orange juice has never contained added water, sugar or preservatives and is gently pasteurized to ensure that you always get a fresh-squeezed taste experience.

Is Mcdonalds juice pasteurized? ›

Yep. McDonald's serves Minute Maid® Premium Orange Juice which is pasteurized for safety and quality reasons.

Is Dole orange juice pasteurized? ›

All DOLE® Canned Juices have always been pasteurized and are commercially sterile.

Is orange juice Pasteurised? ›

Orange juice is normally pasteurized at least twice before it reaches the consumer. It is pasteurized immediately after extraction, before bulk storage, then again before packaging.

Is Naked juice pasteurized? ›

All sugars come from the fruit and or vegetables. Gently pasteurized.

Is Cranberry Juice pasteurized? ›

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, most juices sold in the United States are pasteurized or heat treated to remove harmful bacteria. Review the label of cranberry juice brands to ensure it has undergone a pasteurization process before consuming.

What juice can I drink while pregnant? ›

List of 6 Best Juices for Pregnancy
  • Pomegranate Juice.
  • Apple Juice.
  • Carrot Juice.
  • Orange Juice.
  • Beetroot Juice.
  • Lemon Juice.
Jun 25, 2022

Which is better pasteurized or unpasteurized? ›

Which should you choose? Although unpasteurized foods may have a better flavor profile and slightly more nutrients in some cases, you should choose pasteurized foods when possible. Pasteurized foods have been shown to be safer, have a longer shelf life, and reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

What is the difference between pasteurized and unpasteurized? ›

Pasteurization occurs when the milk from cows is heated to a high temperature to kill harmful bacteria (like E. coli and Salmonella) that can be naturally found in the raw milk. Unpasteurized, or raw, milk skips this step and goes straight from the utter into the carton.

Why is unpasteurized juice better? ›

By pasteurizing juice, pathogens (germs), which may be present in the liquid, are killed. The other 2 percent of unpasteurized juice or cider may contain harmful bacteria that make some people sick. There have been several confirmed cases of Salmonella serotype Muenchen reported in the United States and Canada.

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