The reports of fungus in Capri Sun pouches have been circulating the web for some time now, and the issue indeed has been verified — though the contamination is “mostly harmless.” (Where have we heard that before?)
News of fungus in Capri Sun pouches is certainly alarming, giving their ubiquity and attractive, low price point relative to fancier juice box drinks.
A common emailed warning has urged parents to be on the lookout for fungus in their children’s Capri Sun drinks, with one popular version of the missive even making it to the pages of popular debunking site Snopes, and reading:
“WARNING TO ALL PARENTS: my friend Jennifer gave her son a [Capri Sun] Saturday and he told her it tasted funny. She took a sip and said it tasted like straight alcohol. Cut it open and it was nothing but mold inside. Evidently, this happens a lot. They say the lack of preservatives leaves them susceptible to fermentation. I will never let Delo drink another.”
Kraft later acknowledged the issue regarding fungus in Capri Sun pouches in a statement to consumers reading:
“The recent case of a “worm” found inside a Capri Sun pouch was, in fact, mold (the consumer actually returned to our page to confirm this). While this is not a common occurrence, it does happen from time to time because the product is preservative free. That’s why we recommend discarding leaking or damaged packages and have included a statement on our cartons for consumers. … It would be great if foods stayed fresh forever. But the basic laws of science and nature dictate that most foods eventually spoil and get moldy.”
Indiana State University recently delved deeper into reports of fungus in Capri Sun pouches, confirming that five different types have been growing in compromised units of the popular cafeteria drink.
But the researchers also say that unless a person has a pre-existing health issue, the fungus is unlikely to cause illness — though it may taste awful:
“The significance of this is that for the majority of people, other than being grossed out when you open a package and it has a large fungal mat, which is a really nasty looking thing, it will probably not hurt you … However, in patients who are immune-compromised and some other underlying diseases, this could create a health concern for them.”
Both Kraft and the researchers noted that fungus in Capri Sun is an issue largely specific to damaged or leaking units of the beverage, and most pouches do not contain any mold.