FDOC responds to Post Independent article on OJ

The following correspondence was issued to the Post Independentof Glenwood Springs, Colo. by the FDOC, in response to recent coverage.

I write in response to Steve Wells’ latest column, “The Orange Juice Scam,” in which he suggests the orange juice industry promotes a “fantasy tale” regarding the integrity of its products.

On behalf of the more than 60,000 people that comprise Florida’s citrus industry, I can assure readers that the only fantasy is in Mr. Wells’ head. Sadly, his damaging falsehoods could make it more difficult for his readers to make wise choices about healthy diets.

While he cavalierly suggests that “everything is all in our heads,” science tells us otherwise. Leading health and nutrition authorities, including the USDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics, widely recognize 100% fruit juice as a nutrient-rich beverage that can contribute to fruit intake and be part of a healthful diet for children and adults. Peer-reviewed research also suggests that adults and children who consume 100% orange juice tend to have better overall diet quality and nutrient adequacy as compared to those who don’t consume orange juice.

Further, Mr. Wells’ implication that labeling of 100% orange juice is deceptive is factually wrong. By law, anything labeled as “100% orange juice” is composed of nothing but orange juice. There are no artificial flavors or preservatives in 100% Florida orange juice and no added sugars. As a result – and this is science, not fantasy – an 8-ounce serving of 100% orange juice helps contribute to whole fruit intake, is an excellent source of vitamin C and contains a bevy of other nutrients which are carried over from the fruit to the juice.

While most of us enjoy the pleasure of hand-squeezed orange juice from time to time, the reality is that the US Food and Drug Administration and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have cautioned consumers about the health risks associated with consuming unpasteurized fruit juice. The processing Mr. Wells seems worried about is precisely what makes commercially available 100% orange juice safe and enjoyable year-round – even for people who aren’t lucky enough to live near a Florida grove.

In this case, what tastes good is also good for you. That’s reality.

Sincerely,

David Steele
Director of Public Relations
Florida Department of Citrus