Capri Sun Consumers Ask The Ultimate Question: To Drink or Not to Drink?

STORY BY Jessica Elizabeth Pawlarczyk

Published: May 22, 2013

Unless you’re living on your own private planet that does not offer Wi-Fi, chances are that you have heard about the latest Capri Sun conundrum: researchers at Indiana State University found five types of fungus in the popular kids’ drink.

Now it makes sense that the pouches are opaque, doesn’t it?

The study was originally inspired by concerned consumers who reported floating mold. As icky as a mat of mold may sound, however, researcher Kathleen Dannelly claims that such fungus is harmless to most people. After all, fungi are all around us, even in the air we breathe, and thanks to our immune systems, we can fight off  any potential harmful effects.

Those who are not fortunate enough to have a healthy immune system though are faced with a different story. Drinking a fungal mat in Capri Sun could be detrimental to those who have compromised immune systems, like those with AIDS, leukemia or cystic fibroses. Yikes.

To credit the Capri Sun company, at least it has somewhat fessed up to its mold-infested drinks.

"Since there are no preservatives in our drinks, mold can grow, especially in a leaking pouch," Kraft says on its Capri Sun website.

Despite such acknowledgement, Kraft says it will not add preservatives to the product because their customers “don't want them.” What about natural preservatives though?

According to Dannelly, natural preservatives like citric acid are not harmful to consumers’ health and would be a great fix to the mold problem.

In addition to refusing to add preservatives that could extend the shelf life of Capri Sun, Kraft also says it cannot create clear pouches. Apparently, Kraft already tried to produce see-through packaging, but quickly stopped due to “manufacturing problems.”

All I can say is this: If we’ve figured out a way to transport men to the moon (in addition to many other modern-day marvels), I think Kraft can figure out this clear pouch predicament.

Before swearing away Capri Sun for the rest of your life, you should at least consider the fact that fungi can only grow when a particular pouch is punctured, allowing oxygen in. So if you think about it, any drink packaged in a similar design is also capable of growing mold. In other words, if you’re giving up Capri Sun, you’re going to have to give up a whole plethora of other drink brands as well.

Ultimately, it’s each consumer’s decision whether he or she will continue drinking the popular kid drink. Although mold may initially have an “ick” factor, there of plenty of realists out there that accept the imperfections and germs associated with the food and drink industries.

Others, including myself, can’t seem to shake the images of green, gooey mold floating in their drink… Which is why I threw out the perfectly unopened Capri Sun package that was included in my Lunchable. (Yes, I still eat Lunchables, and I’m not ashamed of it.)

For the record, I feel bad about throwing out a juice pouch that was technically drinkable, because, yes there are plenty of people in the world (not to mention the United States) that cannot afford to buy such an expensive, tasty drink.

What am I to do though? Risk getting sick? Risk irritating my seasonal and mold allergies? 

No thank you…. At least until Kraft agrees to listen to the average consumer, like me, who wants more durable packaging that is 100 percent see-through. Give me this, and then we can talk.

 

Other Stories by Jessica Elizabeth Pawlarczyk
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