Something is going on with orange juice. You heard about it in the news, but what did it mean? Is this something you should be worried about? We'd heard the same things too, and when we noticed big country of origin signs in the grocery store, we grabbed the one with the flag on it and vowed to find out. Here is the scoop on orange juice, exactly what you need to know about your favorite fruit juice, from foreign sources and domestically produced…
All shipments of imported orange juice are being held and individually inspected by the FDA. This started in early January when Minute Maid (a Coca-Cola company) reported that it's own products and the products of several of their competitors were tainted with the banned fungicide carbendazim. The fungicide is illegal in the US, but allowed in other countries, namely Brazil, the source of 80% of the world's orange juice. It is used to control spores that are no threat to ingest, but they do cause an unattractive black spot on the leaves and fruit, so that is why it is sometimes used. Spokespeople for juice lobbying associations will proclaim that carbendazim is no threat to humans, but the chemical has been linked to liver tumors and reproductive issues in animals. In any case, it is illegal for use on food products entering the United States.
After testing 80 shipments of juice, the FDA announced last week that it did in fact find moderate to significant levels of carbendazim in 15% of juices from outside the U.S., specifically Brazil and Canada. Wait, Canada? Canada does not actually produce any oranges, so it can be assumed that the Canadian juice was previously imported from, you guessed it… Brazil. The US imported 438 million dollars worth of fresh orange juice last year and as of now, every bit of it is being held and inspected. Contaminated fruit juice is being turned away or destroyed so in theory, the juice on your store shelves might be a little less fresh, though it should be safe. But guess how you can be sure… you knew we were going to say this… Why not just buy your OJ made in the USA?
There are several smaller juice companies who would like everyone to know that their fruit juice drinks have been US made products all along. Uncle Matt's Organic Orange Juice and Natalie's Orchid Island Juice are two examples. Trader Joe's orange juice is not imported. And the easiest to find of all is Florida's Natural, commonly distributed in every grocery store, owned by a cooperative of Florida growers, entirely grown in the USA and packaged in the USA. That's our kind of orange juice.
I think it’s time to start buying my own fresh oranges and whatever citrus is available to make my own fresh orange juice or orange juice blend. Anyone remember 5-Alive? This used to be a packaged citrus juice blend offered for sale back in the 1990’s that contained a mix of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon and lime juices, I believe. I think I only tried it once but I remember it was good. I’m sure some similar kind of blend would be even better if juiced fresh. I’m at a point now where I’ve had one too many bad tasting packaged orange juices from Mexico, Brazil, etc. I might be willing to buy fresh Mexican limes but all my other fresh citrus will need to be USA grown. No more foreign grown pre-packaged citrus juice for me. I’ve been burned one too many times now with bad tasting packaged orange juice including the organic from whole foods which is just crazy. So I’m ready to start making my own O.J. fresh again. It’s healthier that way anyway.
Florida Natural is no longer made from US oranges. This is so disappointing!! The label now says from US and Mexico.
I tried the passion fruit one. I wish that it came in a bigger bottle though, because I can finish 900ml in no time! It tastes amazing and I love that it’s organic with no sugar added. Will definitely buy this! Also had another best tasting juice which is jus amazing….you can also check this.https://www.houseofchi.com/brands/
No doubt fruit juice taste so good Just want to tell you that yesterday I tried this Chivits Juices one of the 100 orange juice brands, I am really enjoyed it. If anyone wants to check it out, here the links https://www.houseofchi.com/brands/happy-hour-chivita-juice
Good point, Carrie, and you probably have some decent juicing muscles to show for it!
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A juicer is a GREAT idea! I actually have an American made “juicer”– it's a depression glass reamer, proudly made in the USA about 80 years ago. 😉
Not a bad idea. Unfortunately, I spent a fair amount of time trying to find an American-made juicer and was unsuccessful. Let us know if you find one!
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This makes me want to purchase a juicer and make my own. Hmm.. new kitchen gadget. This might work out! Thank you for the information.
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Glad we could help – just one of those good things to be aware of.
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Honestly, we don't drink a lot of oj. Occasionally, I pick up 6 packs at Costco. Next time I go, I'll check on the country of origin. My other source for oj is Trader Joe's. Sounds like I'm safe there.
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Yes, thank you for putting my mind to ease. I've been dodging the whole Orange Juice isle for the past few weeks…bummed as my mouth waters for it! Without doing any research I wondered if Florida's Natural was ok…
Hmm… Florida's Natural claims to be the “only MAJOR BRAND” to use 100% juice form the USA and I think that's accurate. I was just all over the Natalie's Orchid Island site and did not see any such claims. It just said they USE only juice from the US. So I'm not seeing a conflict, but if you find something to share, do let me know. I was thinking of you when I wrote this post (and wondering if you were somehow writing the same thing at the same time!) because you are always so up on the food and product safety issues. I'm glad I could give you some useful info!
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It would be great if it was “Florida‘s Organic OJ”.
Thanks for clearing this issue up! We buy Florida's Naturals because they are 100% made in Florida. But their label claims they are the only juice manufacturer to use no imported juice. Then last week I heard the Natalie's is the only 100% American made orange juice. Do you know anything about these conflicting claims?
Florida Natural is no longer made with only US oranges! Also Mexico now.