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The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice … just for the sake of knowing

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 22:57
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(Before It's News)

Well …. with this bit of information …. I might still enjoy a glass of orange juice … but no doubt … the advertising health benefits will have no impact on me … and at the least I know a hidden truth …

HERE Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, I’m sure you’re careful to buy the kind that’s 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, that’s the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind that’s sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

If I’m describing you, then you’re either going to hate me or love me by the time you’re done reading this post. The truth is, that orange juice you feel so good about buying is probably none of those things. You’ve been making assumptions based on logic. The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff.

Haven’t you ever wondered why every glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same, no matter where in the world you buy it or what time of year you’re drinking it in? Or maybe your brand of choice is Minute Maid or Simply Orange or Florida’s Natural. Either way, I can ask the same question. Why is the taste and flavor so consistent? Why is it that the Minute Maid never tastes like the Tropicana, but always tastes like its own unique beverage?

Generally speaking, beverages that taste consistently the same follow recipes. They’re things like Coca Cola or Pepsi or a Starbucks Frappuccino. When you make orange juice at home, each batch tastes a little different depending on the oranges you made it from. I hope you’re hearing warning bells in your head right about now.

The reason your store bought orange juice is so consistently flavorful has more to do with chemistry than nature.

Making OJ should be pretty simple. Pick oranges. Squeeze them. Put the juice in a carton and voilà!

But actually, there is an important stage in between that is an open secret in the OJ industry. After the oranges are squeezed, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and, critically, the oxygen is removed from them. That essentially allows the liquid to keep (for up to a year) without spoiling– but that liquid that we think of as orange juice tastes nothing like the Tropicana OJ that comes out of the carton. (source)

In fact, it’s quite flavorless. So, the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the de-oxygenated orange juice:

When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.

The formulas vary to give a brand’s trademark taste. If you’re discerning you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That’s largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it. Some companies have even been known to request a flavor pack that mimics the taste of a popular competitor, creating a “hall of mirrors” of flavor packs. Despite the multiple interpretations of a freshly squeezed orange on the market, most flavor packs have a shared source of inspiration: a Florida Valencia orange in spring. (source)

Why aren’t these flavor packs listed as ingredients?

Good question! As with all industrial foods, it’s because of our convoluted labeling laws. You see, these “flavor packs are made from orange by-products — even though these ‘by-products’ are so chemically manipulated that they hardly qualify as ‘by-products’ any more.” (source) Since they’re made from by-products that originated in oranges, they can be added to the orange juice without being considered an “ingredient,” despite the fact that they are chemically altered.

So, what should you do about it?

First off, I must ask: Why are you drinking juice?? Juice removed from the fruit is just concentrated fructose without any of the naturally-occurring fiber, pectin, and other goodies that make eating a whole fruit good for you. Did you know, for example, that it takes 6-8 medium sized apples to make just 1 cup of apple juice? You probably wouldn’t be able to eat 6-8 medium apples in a single sitting. (I know I can barely eat one!) But you can casually throw back a cup of apple juice, and you would probably be willing to return for seconds. That’s why fruit juice is dangerous. It’s far too easy to consume far too much sugar.

So, my first piece of advice is to get out of the juice habit altogether. It’s expensive, and it’s not worth it.

My second piece of advice is to only drink juices that you make yourself, and preferably ones that you’ve turned into a healthy, probiotic beverage (like this naturally-fermented lemonade my own family enjoys). Sally Fallon Morrell’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook (pictured at right) has several lacto-fermented juice coolers that are pleasant, albeit expensive. (I especially like the Grape Cooler, Raspberry Drink, and Ginger Beer.) Want to make juicing easier? See here for where to buy juicers and Vitamix blenders.

And finally, opt out of the industrial food system as much as you can. If you learn anything at all from this post, it should be that you never know what’s in your food unless you grow it, harvest it, or make it yourself. Second best (and more practical for many, including myself) is to pay somebody I trust to do it — like the farmers at my Farmer’s Market, the cattle rancher I buy my annual grass-fed beef order from, or the chef at my local restaurant who’s willing to transparently answer questions about how he sources ingredients and what goes into the dish I’m ordering.

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Total 8 comments
  • LindaJoyAdams

    There needs to be some labeling as to the ingredients in the ‘ flavor pack.’ As one who is very chemically sensitive, I’ve had a bad reaction to some juices that’s suppose to be just oranges and not others. FDA did not tell me about this. There must be some kind of preservative in some or a residuals of something. Thanks so much for a mystery solved! Linda Joy Adams

  • Anonymous

    Nothing will happen until this becomes some kind of “movement” by consumers as a group. Seems to me that more accurate labeling such as “re-oxygenated juice” would be fair….but who cares about fair when you are able to make it sound like it goes from the orange to the carton – as a matter of fact someone will even hand you a carton straight from the grove if you believe the legalized con-game called “advertising” or “marketing”……remember the American Dairy Association’s ads about the healthfulness of milk?? …. the only pure and unadulterated product when it comes to the FDA and corporate profit is the BALONEY they sell.

  • faro0485

    Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same… ie like crap!

    It’s horrid. That’s why if I buy juice I buy the (supposed) supermarket’s not from concentrate, and most of the time it still has the bits in it. In my house they gets drunk in an instant.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    No wonder so many people have health problems if they think so called real fruit Juice is good for them. I always prefer the fruit and when I eat an apple, I eat the core as well. Kiwi fruit skin and all. Yum yum yum.

  • Nae affy anonymous

    Flavour pack or gmo, both good reasons to avoid drinking this pish imo. Shame the sheeple can’t see past the lovely packaging and unnatural sweet taste. Give them 30years though and they’ll put 2+2 together like they managed with cigarettes. Big applaud for the unfortunate and not so bright sheeple, peace.

  • Christopher L Clark

    Like you didnt know. IF IT IS MADE BY A BIG CORPORATION IT ISNT REAL OR SAFE. Did you really need to be told this??? Seriously. You didnt know? I have no sympathy for people that refuse to see the truth of the world. 7 BILLION people in the world. Do you honestly believe that it is possible to feed us all and be healthy too???? Oh wait, I forgot all of the animals that must be fed to. Hey you want a hamburger, a steak, turkey for thanksgiving, a chicken sandwich, pork bar-b-q, WHAT DO THOSE ANIMALS EAT. Oh yes let us fool ourselves. It is most definetly possible to feed all of those animals and feed 7 BILLION people around the world and have all food be healthy. If you EVER believed this go right now to the nearest mirror, look at the person in the mirror and call him or her an IDIOT.

  • faro0485

    I smell eugenics^

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