No seal on Dole cap

*The Duo Juice Company, better known as Dole®, has rolled out a new plastic container for its single Orange Juice and blended fruit juice product lines that include the popular Orange/Strawberry/Banana, Orange/Peach/Mango, and Orange/Pineapple flavors.

A potential problem with the new packaging design is that the outer cap has no seal, and tampering could very easily go undetected. The container has an inner peel-off cap, but once removed, is not reusable like the twist-off outer cap. The design is an invitation for some person of  ill-intent to lace the inside of the outer cap with a foreign substance. Consumers are instructed to “shake well” before use, so once the inner cap is removed, any foreign substance on the outer cap will be shaken into the content with subsequent usage.

During an inquiry on their 800 number, a Dole representative stated, “The Marketing Department thought having a seal on the outer cap was redundant.” Contrarily, a representative of one of Dole’s competitors Simply Orange® that uses similar packaging and does have a seal on the outer cap said, “We place a seal on the outer cap for the safety of  the consumer.”

In this post-911 era in which we live it’s unsettling to think more precaution is not being taken to safeguard the consumer. Even before 911 there was the Tylenol case of the 1980’s where 7 people died from taking capsules laced with potassium cyanide. Was the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made aware of Dole’s decision not to use an outer seal, or did Dole act alone in bypassing this one crucial step?

In the interim, and in the best interest of public safety, Dole should immediately recall the products or at least issue retro seals to merchants to affix to the containers as they are being de-palletized in their store rooms. As an added measure they could issue an alert to consumers with instructions to inspect and/or wash the inside of the cap of products already purchased until the problem is rectified.