London: Forty-three percent of orange juice samples in Spain`s bars and restaurants were found to have more bugs than acceptable levels, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Valencia, in Spain, found that poor handling of the oranges and insufficient cleaning of the juicer equipment stimulated bacterial contamination.
The team collected 190 batches of squeezed orange juice from different catering locations and analysed their microbiological content on the same day.
The results reveal that 43 percent of the samples exceeded the enterobacteriaceae levels deemed acceptable by food regulations in Spain and Europe. Enterobacteriaceae infects the human gut.
The researchers recommend that oranges are handled correctly, that juicers are washed properly and that the orange juice is served immediately rather than being stored in metal jugs.
Orange juice is known for its high content of vitamin C, carotenoids, phenolic compounds and other antioxidant substances.
The presence of Staphylococcus aureus (responsible for several difficult to treat infections) and the Salmonella species was found in one percent and 0.5 percent of samples, respectively. Salmonella infects cattle and poultry, causes food poisoning and typhoid.
Isabel Sospedra, study co-author warns that "generally, a percentage of orange juice is consumed immediately after squeezing but in many cases, it is kept unprotected in stainless steel jugs".