Is your Orange Juice really 100% Pure?

100% Pure?

When I was growing up my Mother made Orange Juice by squeezing oranges in a glass juicer.  The Citrus Juicer looked something like the one pictured below.

Today that seems old fashioned, or does it?  Read on to find out why store bought Orange Juice might not be the best choice for your family.

My friend Elizabeth at Onespot Allergy had a post last week that described some hidden allergens in Minute Maid Heart Wise Orange Juice.  You can read her blog by following this link:  Sadly this information did not come as a surprise to me.  The media has played up the benefits of Orange Juice and has suggested that it is part of a healthy breakfast.  Spiking your blood sugar by drinking 6-8 oranges first thing in the morning is not my idea of a healthy breakfast.  But I digress; orange juice that is 100% pure must be good for you, it is just juice squeezed from oranges, isn’t it?

The problem is that while I am sure that most of you head to the refrigerated section of your grocery store to buy 100% Pure Orange Juice it is not truly 100% pure, nor particularly healthy.   Orange growers heavily spray their orange crops with pesticides called cholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphates, and both of these chemical pesticides are neurotoxins.  The EPA banned organophosphates in 2001 for residential use; however, they are still used in agricultural settings and sprayed on fruits and vegetables.  The EPA is still reviewing the use of organophosphates, but their website states “Organophosphates (OPs) are a group of closely related pesticides used in agriculture and non-agricultural sites that affect functioning of the nervous system. They are among the Agency’s first priority group of pesticides to be reviewed under the Food Quality Protection Act”.

The question then becomes how is 100% pure orange juice made, and what else is in it?  When oranges are processed to make juice, the whole orange is placed in a vat for squeezing, so what you end up with is an orange neurotoxin potion.  The juice is then held in storage tanks which remove the oxygen, a process called deaeration.  This process prevents the juice from oxidizing/spoiling so that the juice can be stored in the vats for up to one year.  The juice removed from these vats is now devoid of flavor as the deaeration process strips that away.  Not too worry, the orange juice industry developed “flavor packs” to add that yummy orange flavor back into the juice.  This is why Minute Maid always tastes like Minute Maid, and why Tropicana always tastes like Tropicana.  The companies have worked hard to develop and patent these flavor packs to provide you, the consumer with tasty orange juice.  The flavor packs are not listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange by-products.  This means that under the FDA labeling laws they do not need to be listed as an ingredient, even though they have been chemically altered.  The flavor packs added to juice also tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, one of the most common chemicals used in flavors and fragrances.

So whether you reach for 100% Pure Minute Maid (Coca-Cola), Tropicana Pure Premium (PepsiCo), or Florida’s Natural (A large Florida Cooperative) you can rest assured that the consistent flavor did not come from nature, rather a process of chemical alteration.  Suffice to say we skip store bought juices in our home, 100% pure or not.  Why not opt to make your own juice from organic oranges, or have a piece of organic fruit instead, a much healthier choice.



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9 responses to Is your Orange Juice really 100% Pure?

  1. Paul Waldo

    Great post, Laura! Just on a whim, I decided to check out these "Organophosphates". As always, Wikipedia is a wealth of knowledge. Some interesting tidbits from the page on Organophosphate (

    * In health, agriculture, and government, the word "organophosphates" refers to a group of insecticides or nerve agents acting on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase
    * Organophosphate pesticides (as well as sarin and VX nerve agent) irreversibly inactivate acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects, humans, and many other animals. Organophosphate pesticides affect this enzyme in varied ways, and thus in their potential for poisoning.
    * They are of concern to both scientists and regulators because they work by irreversibly blocking an enzyme that’s critical to nerve function in both bugs and people. Even at relatively low levels, organophosphates may be most hazardous to the brain development of fetuses and young children.
    * Many organophosphates are potent nerve agents, functioning by inhibiting the action of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in nerve cells. They are one of the most common causes of poisoning worldwide, and are frequently intentionally used in suicides in agricultural areas. Organophosphorus pesticides can be absorbed by all routes, including inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption.
    * Organophosphates are linked to increases in Chronic Fatigue symptoms, Alzheimer's disease, and ADHD. Also, delays in learning rates, reduced physical coordination, and behavioral problems in children are linked to these chemicals.

    This is some scary stuff! I've never been a big OJ fan, but now there is no way I'm drinking any of it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  2. Anonymous

    Can you cite some sources please? It's easy to claim there's insecticides in something without backing it up with any actual report.

    Also, do you think your commenter above is implying that, if I drink, say, a glass of store-bought oj every morning, eventually I will develop chronic fatigue, alzheimer's or adhd? Again, where is the research to support that?

    Couldn't it be that certain types of people – including those with diagnosed adhd (like kids) and who have chronic multiple problems (including the elderly) – are more likely to drink store-bought juice in the first place?

    I understand the desire to eat "clean" food, but this is a bit of fear-mongering. Also, as far as I know, pesticides don't have gluten. So it's not an allergan issue, which it also seems like you are implying.

  3. Paul Waldo

    Hi Anonymous,

    The Wikipedia article I mentioned lists approximately 30 references for it's statements, ranging from mainstream news outlets to scientific journals such as the "American Journal of Epidemiology".

    With titles such as "Study: ADHD linked to pesticide exposure" and "Malathion Exposure and the Incidence of Cancer in the Agricultural Health Study", these articles are a good starting point for verifying these claims.

    If you can concede that there is at least a possibility of the statements being true and that would be of concern to you, you may want to consider looking at the Wikipedia article and some of its references to decide for yourself.


  4. MargeAtLarge

    Dear Anonymous,
    First, it's difficult to dialogue with someone who doesn't show his or her identity.
    Second, when it comes to fear, you betcha!!!! You and I should be afraid of the toxic load in our food supply that both the informed and uniformed choose to gulp down. I choose not to drink this and other toxic soups. But, hey, ignorance is bliss, right? Homework is just too hard.
    Thank you, Laura, for continuing to educate us. The facts are painful to hear sometimes, but I'd rather that than the consequences later.
    …and I will be referencing this blog later, SO THANKS!!!!! 😀

  5. Dr. Tamie Dixon

    Dear Anonymous,
    Do you work for Pepsi Co or Coca Cola? Seriously being an informed consumer is a must these days. Take a minute to do a little research on the products you commonly buy
    Dr. Tamie Dixon

  6. Victoria

    I see that I’m not allowed to leave an anonymous comment anymore. Personally I don’t know why it’s “difficult to dialogue” with someone if they prefer not to leave their name on a website. There are a multitude of reasons I might not want to do that, however, fear of reply comments isn’t one of them.

    Secondly, I’ve been chided for not being an “informed consumer,” yet my original inquiry was for sources to the article. Knowing the source of one’s information is at the root of being an informed consumer, no?

    I do plenty of research on what I buy for myself and my family. We grow organic vegetables, drink organic milk and, when money allows, purchase as much organic meat as possible. The income of one person for three mouths only goes so far. But it has little to do with my wanting to know what’s in my food.

    Amazing, everyone here is so quick to accuse a stranger of not caring what she feeds herself and family, with absolutely no grounds to do so. We do the best we can, so give the attacks a rest. You wonder why others might be put off by you foodists, who are uninterested in educating without scolding.

  7. Bonny

    When I click on the “Read More” link above it does not take me to the rest of the article, which I would like very much to read. Can you please tell me the working link for the rest of this orange juice article? Thank you!

    • Laura

      Bonny, I apologize it should be viewable now. We’ve ported from our old blog host to a new one which crashed a couple of weeks ago. I am manually going through to make sure this problem is corrected. Enjoy the post!

  8. Pingback: Update: Is Your Orange Juice Really Healthy? | Living Gluten and Grain Free

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