There are few things more enjoyable after a long week than going to your favorite restaurant for a meal—it means no cooking, no cleaning, and no worries other than whether or not you're going to order dessert.
However, if you're over 65, there's one popular breakfast item experts from the U.S. Food&Drug Administration (FDA) say you should never order—and if you do, you're putting yourself at risk of serious illness. Read on to find out what you should be crossing off your breakfast order and how you can keep yourself safe.
If you're over 65, don't order fresh-squeezed juice.
While ordering a glass of fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice at breakfast may be part of your regular routine while eating out, doing so could be a risky proposition if you're over 65.
The FDA explains that fresh-squeezed juice may be contaminated with bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, as it's not frequently pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill these pathogens. "While most people's immune systems can usually fight off the effects of foodborne illness, children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (such as transplant patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or diabetes) risk serious illnesses or even death from drinking untreated juices," the FDA warns.
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Checking the packaging can help you figure out if a juice is safe.
The FDA notes that most juice sold within the U.S. has been pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill dangerous bacteria. Many companies will indicate that their product has been pasteurized on its packaging.
However, stores and other locations that produce their juice in-house don't routinely pasteurize or otherwise treat their juices. "These untreated products should be kept under refrigeration and are required to carry the following warning on the label: WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems," the FDA explains.
Certain locations don't have to abide by these rules.
While you might assume that your favorite local restaurant or farm stand serves pasteurized juice, that may not be the case.
The FDA doesn't require juice or cider that's sold by the glass to come with a warning label, meaning you may be served unpasteurized juice in one of these locations without realizing it. If you want to play it safe, ask if your drink has been pasteurized or otherwise treated against bacteria before consuming it.
If you're making juice at home, following certain steps may lower your risk of becoming ill
While drinking any unpasteurized juice poses a risk of foodborne illness, you can reduce your risk of becoming sick with a few simple steps.
The FDA recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing your juice, washing your fruits and vegetables thoroughly with only running water, scrubbing firm fruits and vegetables with a clean produce brush before cutting or peeling them, cutting out any parts of your fruits or vegetables that appear bruised or otherwise damaged, and thoroughly drying your produce with a clean cloth or paper towel before juicing it.