Home Health Debates Processed O.J. vs. Fresh-Squeezed

Processed O.J. vs. Fresh-Squeezed

written by Head Health Nutter June 24, 2009

Two weeks ago, we published Say it Ain’t So, O.J.!” which revealed important information consumers should know before buying processed orange juice. Two days after publishing that post, the Florida Department of Citrus contacted me via email with the subject heading, “Orange Juice Facts”.

The PR director was respectful and simply wanted to communicate their side of the story. She offered her phone number and email in case I wanted to discuss it with her in more detail.

I replied the next day and suggested she leave a comment on the post to get a conversation going with Live Lighter readers. I also requested an interview.

As of today, they have not posted a comment nor have they responded to my email. So in attempts to remain objective and on behalf the Florida Department of Citrus, here is the main content from their email:

Orange juice is one of the healthiest morning beverages. In fact, an 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice delivers essential vitamins and nutrients to support good health and is also more nutrient dense than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pineapple and prune. By law, 100% orange juice is made only from oranges with no added sugars or preservatives.

Approximately 68 percent of Canadian orange juice comes from the United States. By utilizing state-of-the-art technology, Florida is able to provide a consistent supply of high quality orange juice year round. For more than 100 years orange juice has been processed through pasteurization to ensure food safety, which is in strict compliance with all USDA and Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations. When oranges are processed, natural components such as orange aroma, orange oil from the peel, and pulp may be separated from the orange juice. After the juice is pasteurized, these natural orange components may be added back to the orange juice for optimal flavor.

Please visit www.OrangeJuiceFacts.com for more information about orange juice.

Since it doesn’t look like I’ll get an interview, I thought I’d share my questions with you and see if you have some of your own to add:

  1. Is “not from concentrate” (a.k.a. pasteurized) orange juice stored in million-gallon aseptic storage tanks to ensure a year-round supply?
  2. Is a process called de-aeration used by most citrus manufacturers? Alissa Hamilton, author of Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, says this process strips oxygen from the juice, along with flavour-providing chemicals, so it doesn’t oxidize in the tanks.
  3. Does extracting the “natural components” from orange juice alter their molecular structures in any way?
  4. Are fabricated flavour packs added to processed orange juice after pasteurization so that it tastes like orange juice again? Ms. Hamilton explains in her Toronto Star interview that these “flavour packs are derived from the orange essence and oils that are lost from orange juice during processing. Flavour houses break down these essence and oils into their constituent chemicals and then reassemble the chemicals into formulations that resemble nothing found in nature.”
  5. If yes to #4: Do those flavour packs contain especially high concentrations of ethyl butyrate? A quick internet search revealed that ethyl butyrate is found in cigarettes and EnvironmentalChemistry.com lists it as a `hazardous material’.
  6. How can processed orange juice last longer than fresh-squeezed without preservatives? Fresh-squeezed orange juice expires after only 3 days. Some orange juices have a 60+ day shelf life!
  7. Would you share with us any nutritional data you have comparing fresh-squeezed orange juice to processed?
  8. If it wasn’t state regulated, would the Florida Department of Citrus use pasteurization? Some people question whether the process is a health risk or a safety benefit (here’s a great article that considers both sides). Those against pasteurization say it kills beneficial bacteria that aid digestion, as well as the harmful bacteria, along with a large portion of the nutrients, enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Those for pasteurization, like the CDC, believe it effectively prevents outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

Please share your opinions and any questions you have for the orange juice industry in the comment section below!

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Emmanuel Lopez-Motivatorman June 29, 2009 at 6:14 am

Big wow! Lots of info here to digest. Thanks for this Stephanie. Since I love orange juice a part of me is not wanting to here these manufacturing info. But I guess I need to know more about what I’m putting into my body.


Head Health Nut June 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

You’re most welcome for the info, Emmanuel. Hoping that the Florida Department of Citrus will answer a few of these questions so we can determine if or exactly how healthy processed O.J. really is for us!

Head Health Nut

Car Nut July 29, 2010 at 10:34 am

You need to try High Pressure Processing (HPP) Orange Juice from FresherTech as good as fresh straight out of the bottle!

Steph (a.k.a. Head Health Nutter) August 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm

High pressurized processing, eh? Hmm… I’ll have to research it and see what it’s all about. Are the nutrients kept intact?

Car Nut August 24, 2010 at 11:37 am

Nutrients are kept intact.

Roger Otis November 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Hi Steph,

I enjoyed reading the comments here. Because few others responded I thought I would add my thoughts as I feel strongly about any processed foods. Some processing is certainly needed for the masses but the big drawback is that people think they are getting something that they are not getting – like nutrient value, and oxygen for the cellular health. Some of the wisest people I know drink their breakfast from blending 5 or more fresh fruits. It just can’t get better than this. Energy and alertness plus. I’m also a big proponent of olives and nuts too.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for bringing this awareness to all of us.


Head Health Nutter December 2, 2011 at 12:31 am

Hi Roger, you are most welcome for this post and thank you for your thoughtful and helpful comment!

I love my morning smoothies and talk a lot about my favourite appliance: my Oster blender. 🙂 Mmm… I’m also with you on the olives and nuts. Actually, all healthy, whole foods are yummy when you have a few good recipes in your kitchen and eventually learn to be creative as you become more comfy preparing healthy meals.

Steve Bogen May 29, 2014 at 5:14 pm

I am the CEO of United Juice and have been manufacturing commercially FRESH SQUEEZED OJ for about 30 years. Unprocessed, short shelf life, zero defect allowance, 5 log reduction, delicious, untouched unparalleled, like Grandma makes in her kitchen, Fresh, Fresh, Fresh. I would be happy to have an interview. Email, call, text I am here waiting.


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