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Illness linked to orange juice produced in Fort Pierce

Strong evidence links orange juice produced at Orchid Island Juice Co. in Fort Pierce to an outbreak of 15 cases of illness caused by a strain of salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

Orchid Island, which produces unpasteurized fresh-squeezed orange juice, issued a voluntary recall of its orange juice from stores nationwide and has asked consumers to return any juice on hand to retail stores for a full refund.

None of the illness associated with the juice has occurred in Florida, the FDA said in issuing a nationwide warning to consumers against drinking the juice distributed under the labels Nino Salvaggio’s, Westborn Market and Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice.

The containers identify the juice as fresh or freshly squeezed and do not have a warning that the juice is unpasteurized, the FDA said.

"There has been nothing confirmed. We have done a voluntary recall," said Marygrace Sexton, chief executive officer of Orchid Island. "It has not been found in the juice or the facility."

Sexton said the privately held company, which has annual revenues of roughly $20 million, said the company is now flash-pasteurizing its juice.