Posted by troublemaker on December 18, 2011
From the beginning of the Occupy Christmas movement, the central theme has been economic. We have encouraged our readers to buy local and to avoid funding huge corporate control of our democracy. What better way to send a clear message to the huge retail stores than to spend our Christmas savings locally? If money is the only language they speak, we will give them a little silence. Today, we share an everyday example of why this message is valid well past the holiday season.
What is fresh 100% pure fresh orange juice?
Let’s first look at the word “fresh”. While some huge food companies are a bit more honest in using the term “fresh squeezed” rather than simply “fresh”, both terms reference a product which is pasteurized and stripped of its oxygen so it can be stored in million gallon tanks for up to a year. Due to the heat of parturition, stripping of oxygen to prolong storage, and likely the storage itself; the product is no longer either flavorful or colorful. To bring that flavor and color back to something consumers will believe is “fresh 100% pure orange juice” flavoring is added prior to being bottled. Because the product is mostly tasteless prior to the addition of flavoring, food companies can control the unique taste of their brand. Minute Made, as an example, has a distinctly sweet flavor as a result of the recipe they use for their flavor booster.
“Kristen Gunter, executive director of the Florida Citrus Processors Association, confirmed that juices are blended and stored and that flavor packs are added to pasteurized juice before shipping to stores.” (1)
The flavor package is derived from a combination of peel, pulp, and the “volatile compounds” which would otherwise escape during the heat pasteurization process. Essentially, the heating of orange juice drives the essence of orange into the air; it is captured and then used in the flavoring combination. We imagine the peel, pulp and volatile compounds of this year’s batch are added to last year’s flavorless liquids prior to bottling such that year after year the process could continue.
Although the process does not mean the major brands are serving up something created by blending artificial chemicals in a laboratory, the term “100% fresh orange juice” does not properly describe the product which is flavored year old juice.
Huge food corporations treat our food this way because it is the only way they can process, store, and ship such a large volume. They deceive the consumer with terms like “fresh squeezed” because it is the only way they can compete. If they were honest and called it “fresh squeezed up to a year ago”, how many people would purchase their mass produced food product?
Although we do not all have orange groves in our areas, we can look at the example of orange juice to see a reason to purchase as much local produce as possible. It should also serve to illustrate the reasons for eating in season, a concept I will touch on later.