TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Research is underway on a popular kids drink.
You may remember years ago News 10 told you about mold found in a Terre Haute man's daughter's Capri Sun package.
Now, the scientist who confirmed that finding is on a mission. She's trying to find how it got there, and how dangerous it could be. Dr. Kathleen Dannelly, a microbiologist at ISU, started a research group after our story. Her goal is to find out how the fungus got there.
She and her team got more Capri Suns and did some research. They, themselves were able to grow a similar fungus after a few weeks. Dr. Dannelly explained her process to News 10.
"We took the Capri Sun packages, and pierced them with a hot sterile needle, and then placed them in a sterile environment and allowed them to incubate at room temperature and what occurred was after three weeks, we actually found fungal mats," Dannelly said.
Because the drink is organic without preservatives, it's pasteurized, and that means harmless forms of fungus are often in the drink from the start.
So far, Dannelly has found that if the package is punctured at all, the oxygen could cause a chemical reaction leading to fungus growing on the inside.
On their website Kraft, the maker of Capri Sun says they could prevent the mold by adding preservatives, but they know that consumers appreciate that Capri Sun is preservative free.
They add, while it's not likely you'll find a breached package, "there's no way to guarantee a pouch is never cut or punctured."
The explanation isn't enough for Dr. Dannelly. She doesn't think the fungus would harm most healthy people. However, she still has issues with the possibility.
"I'm still concerned within large amounts, with especially with the immuno-compromised patient, that this could be a problem," Dannelly said.
Dr. Dannelly said she plans on publishing her findings from her research, when the experiment is complete.
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