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MDA warns some Pepin apple cider may be contaminated

ST. PAUL -- State officials said today consumers should avoid drinking certain Pepin Heights brand Honeycrisp 100 percent fresh pressed apple cider after department laboratory tests found some product distributed in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin may be contaminated with a mycotoxin called patulin.

The affected product was sold in 64-ounce (half gallon) plastic jugs, featuring a "USE BY" date of Feb 9, 2012.

Any consumers with this product at home are asked to discard it. The affected product was distributed in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Other product lots have been tested and are not included in this advisory.

No illnesses have been associated with this patulin contamination.

The cider was tested as part of a routine surveillance sampling program by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, which confirmed that the apple cider contained patulin at levels of 58 parts per billion. This level is higher than the 50 parts per billion limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Patulin is a mycotoxin that can be found in fruits, vegetables and other foods. Patulin is formed by certain kinds of fungi that sometimes grow on or in these products. Patulin is not eliminated by pasteurization.

While the short-term health effects of patulin are not clearly established, FDA has identified long-term exposure to the substance as a potential concern.

Retailers and consumers with questions may contact Pepin Heights by calling 800-652-3779, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Consumers seeking a refund should mail the label from the front of the affected cider to Pepin Heights Orchards, Attn: Cider Refund, 1753 South Highway 61, Lake City, MN 55041.