The following letter to the editor was sent to the New York Times in response to recent coverage.

I write in response to Hans Taparia and Pamela Koch’s latest column, “A Seismic Shift in How People Eat,” in which they suggest a lack of health benefits has driven Americans away from consuming 100 percent orange juice.

In fact, 100 percent orange juice has no added sugar and provides a substantial number of nutrients per calorie, including vitamin C (an 8-ounce glass provides 100 percent or more of the Daily Value), folate, thiamin, and potassium. According to USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an 8 oz. glass of 100 percent orange juice counts as one serving of fruit. That’s good news for the millions of Americans – particularly children – who fall short on fruit and vegetable intake every day.

While it is true that consumption of orange juice has dropped in recent years, it is unfair to contribute the decline entirely to changing diet patterns. The Florida Citrus industry – from where more than half of America’s orange juice hails– has suffered in recent years from a devastating disease known as citrus greening. Due to the disease, for which there is not yet a cure, production in Florida has dropped more than 57 percent in the past decade and this season’s crop is projected to be the lowest since 1964. This, in turn, results in higher prices for consumers.

However, the Florida Citrus industry is doing everything it can to continue to provide the high quality, premium OJ that Americans have come to expect. We are confident OJ will remain America’s favorite 100 percent fruit juice and a healthy (and delicious) part of breakfast for years to come.

Sincerely,

Shannon Shepp
Executive Director
Florida Department of Citrus