Thursday, May 14, 2009

Juicy as in Gossip

Dear Ms. Price,

On behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus, I am writing in response to your recent article on the Ecocurious blog entitled "How fresh is your OJ?" Please allow us to clarify some information.

Orange juice is one of America's healthiest morning beverages. People choose orange juice for its great taste and nutrition profile. One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent orange juice delivers essential vitamins and nutrients to support good health and counts as almost 25 percent of the USDA-recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Research shows orange juice is more nutrient rich than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pineapple and prune. Orange juice is a convenient, naturally nutritious beverage that can be a healthy part of most diets. Orange juice is processed in strict compliance with all USDA and FDA regulations. By utilizing state-of-the-art technology, we're able to provide people across the country with a consistent supply of high quality, nutritious orange juice year round.

Please visit for clear, concise information about orange juice.

Please feel free to contact me at 863-499-XXXX or if you would like to discuss further.

Karen Mathis

Karen Bennett Mathis
APRPublic Relations Director
1115 E. Memorial Blvd.Lakeland, FL 33802

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Ms. Mathis,

Thanks for your note. I appreciate your desire to contact me.

May I ask you, is anything I said in my blog actually wrong about how orange juice is processed? Nothing in your note actually contradicts what I said in my blog. I did not say it has no health benefits, nor did I say it's bad for you.

I took issue with the fact that OJ is not really a "fresh" juice (by lay standards, not the FDA's) and that processing, while done for good reasons (storage, health), changes the aesthetics and vitamin value, and has to be adjusted for flavor, etc, before being sent to market. If this understanding isn't accurate, I'd like to be corrected.

If you had a chance to look, you may have noticed I wrote about Hewlett Packard's ink cartridge recycling program, unwittingly using out-of-date program information for HP. When approached by HP with better information, I did correct the information gladly in a later blog. If, in fact, my description of the way OJ is processed is faulty, and the impact of processing on the juice, then I am willing to address that too.

Sandy Price

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Ms. Price,

We believe that it is more accurate to say that orange juice is a naturally nutritious beverage that can be a healthy part of most diets. In fact, the USDA MyPyramid includes 100% fruit juice as a nutrient-rich choice from the Fruit Group.

Also, 100% orange juice is made only from oranges. Orange juice is made by capturing the volatile aromas and flavor compounds, which are lost during pasteurization, and restoring these compounds to the juice.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this information.

Karen Mathis

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Ms. Mathis,

I see what you said as simply being a prettier crafting of what I already wrote. Not more accurate, but more palatable from the industry's perspective. I did not say orange juice is unhealthy. I said that processing it renders it less healthy and less aesthetically pleasing than it started. I believe you know that to be factual. You can easily find several peer reviewed studies about the effects of pasteurization on orange juice in scientific journals - as I did.

And, I believe my blog actually does say that the "flavor packets" are made from orange juice components that were separated into constituent compounds and then added back later.

Finally, it is misleading to leave out of your message the fact that orange juice (whether store bought or squeezed at home) can be unhealthy because of its high fructose (sugar) content. In fact, I wonder if you are including calories when you say "nutrients," which would be even more misleading. About a year ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a warning about juice, as it contains so many sugar-derived calories that it can keep a child from getting enough of the other foods they need. And they tagged 100% juice as being one probable factor in childhood obesity. Here is just one of many sources to this effect:

Nobody, least of all me, is telling anyone not to drink orange juice. I will still purchase it for my guests, etc. But consumers should be able to have full information in order to make healthy choices.

I appreciate your attention to my blog, but I think I'll stick by what I've written unless there is something factually inaccurate.

And there isn't.


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