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Mold Toxin Invades Vermont Cannery

Patulin is a toxic substance produced by molds that may grow in apples.  While there are no documented cases of human illnesses caused by patuylin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set maximum allowable levels for concentrations of patulin of 50 parts per billion (PPB).

apples2.jpgThat’s why the applesauce manufactured and sold by the Village Cannery of Vermont, Inc. at Barre is adulterated, according to FDA.  In three inspections last spring and summer, FDA found two samples of organic unsweetened applesauce with patulin levels of 250.3 PPB and 162.6 PPB in the “check analysis”.

Rats and mice have been subjected to patulin to see if it is a carcinogenic mycotoxin.  Those studies have been inconclusive.

Nevertheless, at higher than allowed levels, FDA considers patulin a “poisonous or deleterious” substance at higher than allowed levels.  So, it was enough to get Village Cannery a “Warning Letter” from FDA.  The Vermont cannery was told it must:

  • Make sure “apples with rot” are removed from being processed into food.
  • Clean all food contact surfaces, including utensils and food-contact surfaces, as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food.
  • Install and maintain adequate plumbing, including hand-washing facilities.

The FDA New England District sent Village Cannery the letter on Dec. 1st, and it had 15 business days to respond.

Known as “Vermont Village” near the town of South Barre, the cannery’s website says: “We prefer food that’s grown for taste, not for travel, from farmers who respect the land.

“So we buy apples from local farmers whenever possible and are proud to give them a fair price for their apples and help them continue to be a good steward of their orchards and the environment.

We make our applesauce the old fashioned way, cooked in small kettles, using the whole apple including the peel. There is no water or sugar added. The result is a delicious, healthy treat that you and your family can enjoy any time.”

In business since 1977, it sells applesauce in Co-ops, General Stores and supermarkets throughout the region and beyond.

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