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Juice boxes filled with…mold?! How you can protect your family

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NEW BERLIN (WITI) -- You serve them to your children because they are quick and easy. Juice boxes or pouches are perfect for a family on the go, but a New Berlin family found more than just juice inside!

When the Hogue family sings together, they have to "sign" the words too.

Five-year-old Nathan Hogue is autistic.

"He can't talk, so he had no way to tell me," Nathan's mother, Suzanne told FOX6's Contact 6.

Something was wrong with Nathan's juice box.

"I poked a hole in the juice box and I poured it into his cup for him to drink and poured half the juice box in and everything looked normal," Suzanne Hogue said.

But everything wasn't "normal."

Hogue found mold inside her son's juice box.

"It took up half of the juice box and at that point it was brown, black, green. I didn`t even know what I was looking at at first. I was so shocked when I opened it up. I had no idea what it was. It was so repulsive and it had an odor," Hogue said.

Experts tell FOX6's Contact 6 the mold growing inside Nathan Hogue's juice box can happen to any food product if it is exposed to air.

So in this case, the box must have had a slight hole.

"It is so hard as a mother to see that because your child has already drank half of the juice box and you see what`s in there and it breaks your heart to know that he drank it," Hogue said.

And Nathan Hogue isn't the only one.

After Suzanne Hogue came to FOX6's Contact 6, Katrina Cravy did a quick search online.

Look on YouTube and you'll find people all over the country complaining, and showing what they've found inside their drink boxes and pouches.

It really doesn't matter the brand. The problem is the packaging.

You can't see inside to know whether the juice box has gone bad.

Kraft's Capri Sun is making a big change. New pouches that just came out this month have a clear bottom -- so you can see inside.

One of the frequently asked questions on Capri Suns website says: "Did you make this change in response to mold?"

The company says: "We made the change for several reasons. Moms across the country told us they like that Capri Sun juice drinks are made with no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, but wanted the ability to see inside the pouch. The clear bottom makes it easy to verify that the Capri Sun kids love contains all the goodness moms expect and nothing they don`t."

The Milwaukee Health Department says: "Other than for individuals with medically diagnosed mold hypersensitivity or allergies, mold ingestion via food products is typically not associated with severe health symptoms."

The Centers for Disease Control, and Suzanne Hogue's pediatrician told her to wait and see if Nathan got sick.

"The thing that was scary was they told me it could take up to a week for him to get sick, so for the next week I would watch him like a hawk," Hogue said.

Luckily, Nathan didn't get sick, and most likely, you won't either -- but if you don't want to be grossed out about what's inside -- Contact 6 advises smelling the drink first, and if you're really concerned -- cut the box or pouch open first.

It's a simple step Suzanne Hogue says she will take from now on.

"Before this happened, I didn`t pay that much of attention to the boxes because I never thought something like that could happen until it actually did," Hogue said.


  • Darci

    Want to prvent mold in your juice 100% of the time. Make your own. It’s healthier and doesn’t contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

    • Jamal

      um actually even if you are making your own juice it will have sugar. Fruit has naturally occuring sugars. If you want it to be healthy make a smoothie not juice

  • somebody not retarded

    “protect your children” implying this hasn’t happened a ton of times before or that anybody is “in danger.” Really? You people get a bent out of shape about preservatives so companies use less then you wonder why. You can’t have preservative free products and expect no mold, you choose one or the other. Yuppies.

    • Momof3boys

      I would like to comment on Somebody not retarded!!! First of all nice screen name considering this story is about a child with autism!!! Second if you look at the box that the mold is in was a Pedisure box…something that is supposed to help add nutirents to children’s diet. My son has the same boxes to help add to his diet because he is a very picky eater cause he has aversions to certain textures. BTW..he also has autism. Think about what you say before you post considering you call yourself someone who is not retarded!!

  • Bill Rauschenberger

    Why not make part of the packaging see thru?!! Then we’d always know what we were getting, without having to take the product apart before ingesting.

  • Kurt

    Just look over EVERYTHING you buy at grocery store. Not always is it the manufacture. How the “stocker” cut open case inside grocery store can determin if item will be fresh or not!

    • Seth Pickering

      Anything CAN happen, however, the amount of fungal growth shown suggests it has been around longer than the store has had it.

      • Nikke

        It only takes 1 week for mold to form…stores can have product for months before it sells, especially something like this pediasure clear

  • Chris Sobush

    The suggestion to “cut open” the juice pouch or box and pour it into a cup defeats the whole purpose of purchasing juice in a single-serve pouch or box in the first place. I do like the see-through bottom on caprisun – that’s a good solution, now the juice box companies need a solution.

  • Debbe

    I would like to know what it finally was that cued Mom to tear the box open to find the mold.

    Yes, having to examine the inside of EVERY container totally defeats the purpose. May as well purchase the plastic bottles, then. Whoa, environment! Can’t win.

    Make your own juice and package in reusable, washable, single-serving size bottles.

  • Mark A. Griffin (@InHISNameHR)

    So gross. Capri Sun is nothing but sugar water. Sugar grows mold like crazy especially if the product is warm and exposed to air. Parents read the labels- Your killing your kids. Ingredients: WATER; HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP;…..

    • nurturingandnourishing

      Actually you may want to read the ingredients. Many contain HFCS and lots of artificial colors and flavors that are absolutely nothing you want to give your kids. However, many including at least some of caprisun’s line contain 100% juice. I don’t think has always been the case, I remember scoffing at the ingredient list on capri sun in the past as well. I think the companies are responding to the public outcry for better quality drinks. Fruit juice is still sugar and will feed molds and should be limited in a diet, but a decent quality juice box is fine.

  • Mommyknowsbest

    I just bought small juice box size drink containers from target for a buck. so far they are working well for my kids lunches. I have been freezing half and filling up the other half in the am before school. melts by lunch and it still cold

  • Marchetta tench

    I just drank a Capri dun this weekend and it tasted horrible and I cut it opened and video taped what I found. I guess it’s a clump of clear white mold.

  • Marchetta tench

    I just drank a Capri sun this weekend and it tasted horrible and I cut it opened and video taped what I found. I guess it’s a clump of clear white mold.


      I agree . Yes Capri Sun had an issue with this before but this particular product wasn’t a Capri sun pouch . It was a PediaSure clear.

      This can happen with ANY product packaged in a single serve package where you can’t see inside .

  • Jenny

    Not all CapriSun drinks are sugar water. They now make some that are a combo of fruit and veggie juices, and another few that are just fruit juice. They do still carry the ones that are pretty much koolaid so you have to read ingredients.

  • Anne

    Wow! I give my Autistic son the same pedi clear “juice” not really juice (contains no juice) it’s more of a Nutritional support drink!! He has difficulty with eating certain foods and needs the Nutritional support. He also has a Gluten intolerance so he misses out on certain vitamins. It is so disturbing to see this, my son will not drink this unless it’s in the box, he is very particular on how the things he drinks and the food he eats look! Packaging is a biggy! I check the use by dates always but, you will be surprised to find out that a lot of stores (Target) fail to remove them from the shelf after this date!! I will be writing to this company!! Because this is serious!!

  • Gregg

    There are machines out there can do 100% leak detection to prevent this type of problem by ensuring there are no small holes in the container. Companies making billions of dollars on sugar water don’t want to spend a few hundred thousand on one though; they would rather do periodic inspection and give you a free box of juice when you report a moldy one. It’s a joke, these companies should be held liable and to a higher standard than this clear negligence.

  • Nikke

    Why would they need to sign for their son? He’s autistic…that doesn’t make him deaf or dumb. I did read that he is non-verbal, that doesn’t mean he can’t communicate. It means he does not communicate using verbal language.

    • Bungus

      Seeing how you are a medical professional, why dont you go visit the family and simply explain to them and their son how they should communicate with each other. Must be nice to sit back and know everything about a situation solely based on one news story

    • Crystal Ziegman

      Logic. If the child can not verbally communicate he would need to sign in order to communicate. How is he going to learn to sign if he doesn’t have someone teaching him? And if he learns to sign from a program or something and the family doesn’t know how to sign we go back to a lack of communication; they still would be unable to know what he was saying. I have a cousin who has Down Syndrome and when he was little it was very difficult to understand him so we all learned basic sign language. It helped him communicate. Even though he could understand us he felt more included in the family if we were all able to sign.

  • Jameshia

    I bought some kool aid bottle juices from Walmart and inside one of the bottles mold was growing inside I was very upset. Due to the fact that my son could have drink it luckly I checked it before he did!!!

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