FoodFacts knows that orange juice is one of the most popular breakfast choices in the United States, with up to two thirds of all Americans including the beverage in their breakfast routines. We were saddened to learn late last week that on top of coming to terms with arsenic in apple juice, we’ll also have to come to terms with the idea that our premium orange juice is not “All Natural” like we’ve been led to believe.
There’s a “secret ingredient” that is included in any premium, not from concentrate, 100% pure orange juice that manufacturers are not required to put on their labeling.
So the secret’s out and here it is: Premium orange juice (pretty much all of it) is made and then stored in tanks for up to a year. While it’s being stored it loses much of its flavor and needs to be “reinvigorated” with flavor packets. For the last 30 years, the citrus industry has used flavor packs to process what the Food and Drug Administration identifies as “pasteurized” orange juice. The top brands on grocery store shelves like Tropicana, Minute Maid, Simply Orange and Florida Natural, among others have always used this practice. The addition of flavor packs long after orange juice is stored actually makes those premium juices more like a concentrate. Consumers have never known about this and are under the impression that the juice they are purchasing is better in both flavor and content than juices mad from concentrates. The “not from concentrate” brands are priced higher than their “from concentrate” competitors. And consumers have felt good about purchasing them believing that they were of higher quality.
But it doesn’t appear to be the case. After the oranges are squeezed and pasteurized, if they’re being used in a “not from concentrate” brand, they are kept in aseptic storage. This means oxygen is removed from the juice in a process called deaeration. It is then stored in tanks for up to a year. Prior to packaging and shipped, flavor packs are added to the stored juice. The flavor packs contain orange byproducts such as peel and pulp which compensate for the loss of taste and aroma. Those flavor packs are also how manufacturers are able to maintain a consistent flavor profile for their juices. Each brand has its own flavor pack formula.
In case you missed the news this weekend, FoodFacts wanted to make sure that our community stays up to date on important issues like this one. While the juice isn’t made from concentrate, it really isn’t “100% pure” like the manufacturers have been leading us to believe. And while the manufacturers are saying that their flavor packs are made from the oranges themselves through the pasteurization process, we understand that the addition of the packs really does defy the claims for the product. Let us know what you think.
Foodfacts.com came across an article this morning which verifies that nutrition labels are often very misleading and boast unrealistic claims, such as “improving brain function.” Many of our followers already know that nutrition labels can’t be trusted 100 percent, however, this can be eye-opening for the few still trying to figure things out.
How well do you really know what you’re drinking?
Savvy shoppers know not to take product labels at face value. Still, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for consumers trying to keep the facts straight about what’s in what they drink.
First it was the news about how not-so-one-hundred-percent 100% orange juice is. For those who may be unaware of the controversy, here’s what you need to know: During processing, things like orange aroma, oil, and pulp can get separated from the actual juice. Specifically, the process of removing the oxygen from the juice (which is done to keep it from spoiling without the use of preservatives) strips the juice of a lot of its natural flavors. And so to make up for the loss, those natural components — in the form of “flavor packs” — get added back in after processing. Not surprisingly, the backlash among the OJ-drinking set was fast and furious.
Now, hot on the heels of this revealing information, comes word that some of the popular brands of coconut water fail to deliver the “promised” amount of sodium — an electrolyte key to the drink’s appeal as a sports and energy drink. A report from ConsumerLab.com revealed that only one out of the three tested beverages offered an amount of electrolytes comparable to other sports drinks like Gatorade. Even though some may not outright call themselves sports drinks on the label (O.N.E. Coconut Water has), that’s certainly how they’re marketed (not to mention some even boast athlete endorsements). As ConsumerLab president Dr. Tom Cooperman told the Huffington Post, “People should be aware that the labels are not accurate on some of the products, and they shouldn’t count on coconut water for serious rehydration.”
Thing is, when it comes to finding out news like this, are you really even surprised? Beverage labels, and labels in general, are a product’s face to the world — that they’re used as a canvas to improve the image of their product and make it more appealing to consumers is easy to understand. Of course, some cases are more egregious than others. For instance, how Snapple’s teas were labeled as “all natural” despite listing citric acid as an additive. Or worse, the example of Nestle’s Juicy Juice Brain Development Fruit Juice claiming that it “Helps Support Brain Development.” Apparently, such claims, called structure/function claims, require no FDA pre-certification.
Orange Juice | Foodfacts.com
While fruit is a critical part of a nutritious daily diet, the fact is that most Americans do not consume the recommended amount each day. Thus, they do not get their fill of the essential nutrients that power the body’s many processes and protect it from disease, Foodfacts.com has learned.
Finding quick and simple ways to add additional fruit servings — and the wide scope of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they contain — is more critical than ever. Though the USDA recognizes that a four-ounce serving of 100% juice supplies one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, confusion still runs through the consumer marketplace. How healthy is juice? (more…)