Preschoolers were supposed to get apple juice at snack time. They got Pine-Sol instead

Amy B Wang of the Washington Post writes that officials at a preschool in Hawaii have apologized after young children were given Pine-Sol instead of apple juice to drink during a morning snack time, a mix-up that health officials said occurred because the two liquids were “the same color.”

The incident involving the household cleaning liquid took place on Tuesday at the preschool at Kilohana United Methodist Church in Honolulu.

A classroom assistant prepared the snacks — which should have been crackers and apple juice — in the preschool’s kitchen, according to an inspection report by the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Instead of juice, however, the assistant reportedly grabbed a container of Pine-Sol, a decades-old brand of household cleaner that comes in a variety of scents, though none particularly reminiscent of apple juice.

The preschool’s cleaning supplies are “stored below the kitchen sink and in the janitors room,” the report stated, while food items “are properly stored and labeled in the kitchen cabinets.”

“I think it’s extremely terrifying,” parent Turina Lovelin told KHON News. “It’s very, very scary, but it’s hard for me, or any of the people that I’ve spoken to, to understand how it happened in the first place.”

Effect of acid adaptation and acid shock on thermal tolerance and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and O111 in apple juice

Gradual exposure to moderate acidic environments may enhance the thermal tolerance and survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in acid and acidified foods. Limited studies comparing methodologies to induce this phenomenon have been performed. effects of strain and physiological state on thermal tolerance and survival of E. coli in apple juice were studied. The decimal reduction time (D-value) at 56°C [D 56° C] was determined for E. coli O157:H7 strains C7927 and ATCC 43895 and E. coli O111 at four physiological states: unadapted, acid-shocked (two methodologies used), and acid-adapted cells. The effect of acidulant was also evaluated by determining the D 56° C for the O157:H7 strains subjected to acid shock during 18 h in Trypticase soy broth (TSB), with pH 5 adjusted with hydrochloric, lactic, and malic acids. Survival of the three strains at four physiological states was determined at 1 ± 1°C and 24 ± 2°C.

Experiments were performed in triplicate. For thermal inactivation, a significant interaction was found between strain and physiological state (P < 0.0001). Highest thermal tolerance was observed for the 43895 strain subjected to acid shock during 18 h in TSB acidified with HCl (D 56° C of 3.0 ± 0.1 min) and the lowest for the acid-shocked C7927 strain treated for 4 h in TSB acidified with HCl (D 56° C of 0.45 ± 0.06 min). Acidulants did not alter the heat tolerance of strain C7927 (D 56° C of 1.9 ± 0.1 min; P > 0.05) but significantly affected strain 43895 (P < 0.05), showing the greatest tolerance when malic acid was used (D 56° C of 3.7 ± 0.3 min).

A significant interaction between strain, storage temperature, and physiological state was noted during the survival experiments (P < 0.05). E. coli O111 was the most resistant strain, surviving 6 and 23 days at 24 and 1°C, respectively. Our findings may assist in designing challenge studies for juices and other pH-controlled products, where Shiga toxin–producing E. coli represents the pathogen of concern.

Journal of Food Protection®, Number 10, October 2014, pp. 1656-1833, pp. 1656-1663(8)

Usaga, Jessie, Worobo, Randy W.,  Padilla-Zakour, Olga I.