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MDA issues consumer advisory for Minnesota Harvest apple cider

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is advising consumers to avoid drinking Minnesota Harvest brand apple cider after department laboratory tests found the product to be contaminated with a type of mold toxin called patulin. Any consumers with this product on hand are asked to discard it.

While the product is no longer for sale, it was sold earlier this year in gallon and half-gallon plastic jugs at Minnesota Harvest retail facility in Jordan, Minn. Minnesota Harvest is cooperating fully with the MDA investigation.

The cider was tested as part of a state inspection of the facility. Subsequent lab tests confirmed that the apple cider contained patulin at levels nearly three times higher than the limit established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Patulin is a mycotoxin (mold toxin) found in moldy fruits, vegetables and other foods. The toxin is formed by certain kinds of fungus that sometimes grow on these products. Patulin is not eliminated by pasteurization. No illnesses have been associated with this patulin contamination. 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.