The Main Squeeze: How Safe is Your Juice?

The Main Squeeze: How Safe is Your Juice?

many juices

By Elizabeth Canepari, MS, Guest Blogger

Take a stroll down any street and I’d be willing to bet a few bucks you’ll spot someone sipping away at a fresh cup of juice. From sweet, fruity blends to garlicky, green concoctions, juicing is a great way to get your daily dose of fresh fruits and veggies. With juice bars being all the rage, how safe is drinking fresh juice?

So, What’s The Risk?
Fresh juices (not the big name OJ found in your local supermarket) have not been pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process in which juice is heated to a high temperature for a certain period of time to kill harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria – all while keeping the integrity of the nutrients. Although it is typically recommended we consume pasteurized products, fresh juice can be kept safe with these user friendly tips.

When prepping fresh juice wash all produce before sticking it through the juicer. This means running each fruit or vegetable under cold water just as you would an apple before chomping. Washing with good ol’ H20 will rid bacteria, dirt, and any residual pesticides from the surface of the produce. This is the first step in minimizing your chances of becoming sick from fresh juice.

Get Trimmin’
Inspect your fruits and veggies for bruises, spots, and blemishes. These not only make your produce less attractive, but bruised skin is an entry way for bacteria and other contaminants. Trim the bruised areas before juicing to minimize the chances of any not-so-friendly pathogens tainting your beverage.

Chill Out
From a nutritional stand point it’s best to drink fresh juice hot (or should I say “cold”) off the press. Once the juice has been exposed to the air, vitamins and minerals begin to oxidize and lose some of their value. However, if you’re looking to save your goods for later, refrigerate your juice up to three days in an air tight container below 41°F. This will help slow down the oxidation process and keep your juice safe to sip, as bacteria and other pathogens don’t multiply as fast under chilly conditions.

To Drink Or Not To Drink?
Unpasteurized, fresh juices can be safely incorporated into a healthy diet as long as basic food safety principals are being used. However, those with compromised immune systems like young children, the elderly, and pregnant women should slurp with caution as their risk of becoming sick is much greater. Washed, trimmed, and chilled juice may be a perfectly safe addition to your summer meal plan!


TELL ME: What’s your favorite fruit or veggie to juice?
Elizabeth Canepari earned her Master of Science degree in Nutrition & Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to pursuing a career in nutrition, she taught health and physical education in New Jersey. Elizabeth will be working as a dietitian in an outpatient pediatric obesity program in Central New Jersey.


  • Agnes
    Posted at 10:02h, 11 August Reply

    Great article, very informative. Now I know what to do when I want to drink a “healthy juice.”

  • Ann Ciuffini
    Posted at 11:31h, 11 August Reply

    I found this blog very informative. I know how important it is to wash fruit and vegetables before using and I always wondered if juice bars properly wash the fruit and vegetables they use before juicing.

    I think I will stick to making my own fruit juices because I know the fruit I use is washed. I will also make sure I properly store the juice if I don’t drink it right away. I didn’t realize properly storing the juice is as important as washing the fruit.

  • Jacqui Brunetto
    Posted at 11:46h, 11 August Reply

    Very interesting -gave me some things to think about before I have my favorite fruit smoothies again – I personally like tropical smoothies and now will do more research into how “healthy” they really are !

  • Joanne
    Posted at 12:10h, 11 August Reply

    Hi Elizabeth. I enjoyed reading your blog and learning a thing or two. I currently do not have a juicer. What would you recommend I use as an alternative? I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Thank you.

  • Kathy Ross
    Posted at 13:52h, 11 August Reply

    Hi Elizabeth, This is great advice. What do you think about boxed juices for little kids? Some, such as, Juicy Juice, are 100% juice. Would you suggest these for little ones? Thanks! Kathy

  • John & Marge
    Posted at 18:46h, 11 August Reply

    Since we do “fresh” juices regularity this article really hit home. We will certainly use Elizebeth’s advice. Thank you.

  • Kathleen Oliveri
    Posted at 14:10h, 12 August Reply

    Thank you for the enlightening information. I wonder if you could provide additional details in a subsequent article, providing specific details as to which fruits and vegetables would optimize my juicing experience enhancing a healthy diet?

  • Brenda
    Posted at 21:38h, 12 August Reply

    Thank you Elizabeth for this informative advice. I often make smoothies, and never came to realize the importance of pasteurization, and washing fruits. I will make sure I practice your advice now while making smoothies. Looking forward to reading more from you, Elizabeth!

  • Judie
    Posted at 11:50h, 13 August Reply

    Thanks Elizabeth, this was very interesting!!!!. I was considering juicing. Important to note that those with compromised immune system like children and the elderly are at risk if the proper food safety principles are not used correctly. I did not know that…something to consider.

  • Wayne
    Posted at 12:11h, 16 August Reply

    Thanks, I found your article to be not only informative, but put in a way that was easy to comprehend and follow.

  • Daily Supplements
    Posted at 19:40h, 19 September Reply

    Great article on Healthy juices. No sugar please! Also good to use oatmeal for complex carbs in your juice smoothies.

  • Daily Supplements
    Posted at 19:43h, 19 September Reply

    Forgot to mention the less simple carbs the better. The more natural the juice and less processed it is the better.

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