Tropicana Orange Juice Slammed by Judge as Misleading

Tropicana Label Closeup

Did you know that the 100% orange juice you buy at the supermarket may have been lying in a refrigerated vat for 6 months or longer before it was poured into the carton standing in your fridge?

Or that in order to keep it free of pathogens while chilling in said vat, the OJ is stripped of flavors and colors, only to have them added back when preparing for sale, through “flavor packets”?

And that these “flavor packets”, made solely from extracts of oranges and orange peels, do not legally need to be labeled as ingredients on the product package?

And did you know that orange juice is pasteurized, meaning it is flash heated to prevent harmful bacteria from forming during the long shelf life it is expected to enjoy? Of course, together with the bad stuff, pasteurization neuters vital nutrients and kills the taste.

It turns out that many consumers do not know all of the above. Several of them banded together to sue OJ giant Tropicana, a division of PepsiCo. A New Jersey judge who presided over the case has issued an opinion on the matter – dismissing Tropicana’s motion to dismiss the case. Will the plaintiffs eventually win? It’s too early to say.

But one thing is sure – the picture of a straw coming out of the orange and all the marketing-speak text surrounding the product do create a false impression. American consumers have been duped, yet again.

Orange juice is a big business in the US. Despite a recent dip, this is a market of over $10 billion in annual sales. While oranges are inherently healthy, they have a short season; it is geographically concentrated in Florida and other southern states. In order to bring the goodness of oranges to the rest of the nation, packaged orange juice (and orange juice marketing) was invented.

What to do at the supermarket:

While a nice cold glass of OJ may be refreshing every once in a while, juice is not close to being as healthy as an orange. It is very high in sugar, and low in fiber and other nutrients. So drink it less often, and when you do, look for fresh squeezed juice, not something that may have been harvested last year.

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  • amerikos

    So what is a good alternative to tropicana? What is a brand that has good quality orange juice that isn’t tampered with?

    • Anthony DiPasquale

      squeeze some oranges, doode — only way to know for sure AND you get live enzymes

    • frumpus

      Buy a vitamix and blend some oranges. Tastes better and much more filling.

    • Roger Mexico

      Buy OJ from concentrate. It doesn’t need to sit in vats and undergo the whole process described above. They just freeze it and then mix it when it’s ready to ship. Our by concentrated juice from the frozen section

  • Evan Rogers

    Don’t blame tropicana, this s**t is all mandated by the government. I’m sure Tropicana would love to sell unadulterated OJ, but it won’t happen with the FDA’s fist inside their …. y’know.

  • Altwoman94

    How does frozen concentrate compare?

    • Anthony DiPasquale

      same shiitake

  • John Rylah

    Eat fruit don’t drink juice, as the article states, lots of what you drink is sugar, fructose that our system does not block when we exceed our sugar intake. Plus as the article also states most of the goodness in fresh fruit does not make it into the commercial juice you can purchase in the supermarket.

  • pat

    Sugar actually buffers acidity and when the juices are 100 juice with added citric and ascorbic vitamin c acids, the ph drops. Many people cannot genetically handle this higher acidity level which is a trend in the juice industry at the moment. High acidity causes health problems, Gi dysfunction and osteoporosis, liver problems/high cholesterol, etc. Not the sugars, but the acids are hurting people. People need to complain and call the companies. Plus the fruits and concentrates of juices are from under ripe prematurely picked tasteless high acidic fruit. Nothing will change unless people complain! This also why the fruit juices taste so bad. 15 years ago this was not the case- all juice even natural juice was naturally sweeter.

  • James J Fraunberger

    I buy fresh squeezed at the Amish market or make my own