Sunday, December 18, 2011

100%, pure, natural OJ? Think again

Say it isn't true, are the orange juices we love really held in tanks for up to a year and heavily processed?

It seems that many brands of orange juice claim to be 100%, pure orange juice and 'not from concentrate.'

The sad truth for many, is that a lot of premium brands are adding undisclosed, but naturally derived, chemicals to the manufacturing process in a bid to ensure consistency of flavour and quality.

As far as any claims for freshness, some juices are stored for up to a year, with added 'flavour packs' - boosting the taste before being packaged

These hidden 'flavour packs' that are added to packaged orange juices, such as Tropicana, Florida Natural and Minute Maid after the pasteurisation and storage process may pose a health concern to some.

The added flavours, fully approved by the FDA and made by capturing natural aromas that leave juice in the pasteurisation process, are termed as 'orange' and so are not mentioned on ingredients lists - a false impression that some are people are up in arms about.

Food writer Natalya Murakhver, 40, said she will start using a juicer and feels she has been misled by the lack of transparency on her favourite brand's label. 'It's arguable if it's bad for you or not. Still, it's a secret ingredient and no one seems to know about it.'Oranges' is all it says on the label - a perfect product,' she told the wrote.

Manufacturers have an explanation.

Kristen Gunter, executive director of the Florida Citrus Processors Association, explained that by blending various stored batches and adding a naturally made flavour pack, juice companies are able to provide a consistent product all year round.

'You buy branded orange juice, you kind of want it to taste, generally, the same. That expectation is met by blending different varieties and, in order to blend, storage is involved,' she said.

That's why brands like Tropicana orange juice use flavour packs

Storage can last for up to a year in million-litre, de-aerated, vats. The juice loses its full body in the process and so needs re-invigorating with flavour packs after blending.
While technically it may be 100% natural, but while ingredients are derived from oranges, the flavour chemicals are so highly sophisticated that they 'do not exist in nature,' Alissa Hamilton, formerly of the Institute of Agriculture and Trade said.

Major juice manufacturers say however, that the added flavor, a key stage in the treatment of pasteurized juices, is entirely natural.
'It's not made in a lab or made in a chemical process, but comes through the physical process of boiling and capturing the [orange essence].'

Safety and freshness  pasteurization is essential because freshly squeezed (unpasteurised) juices run the risk of bacteria.

Yet, many intend to use a juice machine rather than buying juices after learning of the production practices of juice manufacturers.
One mother said, "It's not arsenic but still something I didn't know I was drinking, so I ended up researching juice machines and bought one today,
I definitely will not be buying any juice from now on."