Not so fresh

Unless you’re OK with flavor packs being added to your orange juice, squeeze your own

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Orange juice holds a high position in the pantheon of American breakfast icons.

However, is it truthfully fresh or are you getting jerked around?

Ads tell us it’s pure and natural, so we obediently buy the orange nectar for the sentiment. Nevertheless, much of the orange juice on the market isn’t fresh or even domestic with half of all orange juice in the world produced in Brazil.

Keep in mind, two of America’s most popular OJ brands are owned by beverage giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

According to a New York Times interview with Alissa Hamilton — a fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the author of Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice — the largest fabricators of “not from concentrate” or pasteurized orange juice keep juice in million-gallon aseptic storage tanks to ensure a year-round supply.

This storage method strips the sun-blessed ambrosial nectar of vital oxygen, so the juice doesn’t oxidize in tank farms, where juice loiters for up to a year.

Chemical fragrances

Shopping at a whole foods grocery, I noticed an orange juice label touting, “No flavor pack added.”

Interest piqued, my research began. OJ drinkers, you’ve been hoodwinked about what you’re actually drinking. Big brands touting their product as “pure and simple,” add flavor packs to make it fresh again.

ABC News reports that flavor packs are fabricated from chemicals that make up orange essence oil. Flavor and fragrance houses that create high-end perfume break down orange essence oils into their constituent chemicals then reassemble the individual chemicals in configurations resembling nothing in God’s nature.

Lip-smackin’ ethyl butyrate is one of the other charming chemicals found in high concentrations in flavor packs. Flavor engineers discovered it imparts a fragrance Americans associate with fresh squeezed.

Make your own

One company in recent years reformulated its healthy-heart juice by adding fish oil and fish gelatin for added omega 3 fatty acids — OJ meets sardines.

Food Renegade.com weighed in: “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.”

It’s time to return to a pre-industrial revolution mentality. If half the world can, why can’t we?

Score a juicer and properly nourish your body with fresh deliciousness.

Or better yet, just eat an entire orange, pulp and all.


Chef Wendell Fowler is a syndicated food columnist and the author of Eat Right Now: The End of Mindless Eating.