FDOC responds to JCO paper

Today the Florida Department of Citrus issued a prompt response to study findings published on June 29 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, echoing cautions raised by the authors as well as third parties.

According to FDOC spokesman David Steele, “We support commentary by both the researchers associated with the study itself, as well as third party experts, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, that these findings do not warrant making any changes to grapefruit or orange juice consumption recommendations.”

Steele expressed concern that media accounts of the research are frequently using irresponsible language to attract attention. “The limitations of this study are acknowledged by the scholars themselves, yet careless coverage can leave people with incorrect impressions of the science involved.”

Experts have acknowledged that the study has several significant limitations, including a study population not representative of the general population and inconsistencies in the findings related to risk and the form of citrus consumed by the participants. Further, this single study does not take into account the large body of scientific evidence and recommendations of global health and nutrition authorities that support the role 100 percent juices, such as orange and grapefruit juice, and fresh fruit, such as oranges and grapefruit, play in a healthy diet.

In fact, one 8-ounce serving of 100 percent orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate, and thiamin, and has been associated with a number of nutrition and health benefits. Specifically, research studies suggest that regular consumption of citrus fruits and juices as part of a healthy diet may help support healthy cholesterol levels, healthy blood vessels, and lower blood pressure, which could contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Citrus, either fresh or juiced, remains a delicious and nutritious part of a healthy diet,” said Doug Ackerman, executive director of the FDOC. “Nothing about that fact has changed.”

The difference between “links” and “causes” will remain a focal point of the FDOC response to this issue.

“We remain focused on open and honest communication about nutrition. In fact, that is central to our brand message. Science is key. There is no room for sensationalism,” said Steele.

“Scientists all agree that there is a clear and compelling link between smiling and dying,” Steele added. “In the entire history of the world, everyone who has ever smiled has either died or — if they are still living today — is expected to die.”

“That’s what a ‘link’ is. It may or may not be interesting data. But a link is not, in and of itself, actionable. We continue to recommend smiling.”

For more information on Florida Citrus, please visit floridajuice.com for resources like the OJ Nutrition and Health Toolkit which provides the latest research and facts about the nutrition benefits of 100 percent orange juice.