The all-American breakfast beverage is not what you think—and IATP Food and Community Fellow Alissa Hamilton has long been arguing for greater transparency from the orange juice industry. Her 2009 book Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice showed us that those premium cartons of Florida orange juice are far from what we would ever think of as "all natural." And now a recent string of lawsuits is using Hamilton's research about the processing that's actually involved in these "100% pure" varieties. According to Hamilton, orange juice from companies like Tropicana is preserved for up to a year in aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen—and flavor. Orange juice companies add chemically engineered "flavor packs" to the juice, which makes it taste the same year-round. According to a recent AP article, the lawsuits argue that juice from companies like Tropicana is "so heavily processed it shouldn't be called 'natural.'" The article goes on to credit Hamilton for this recent surge in litigation:
The Tropicana lawsuits are partly the result of a 2009 book about the orange juice industry, Alissa Hamilton's "Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice." Hamilton, a doctoral student at Yale when she started researching orange juice, spent five years learning about the industry, interviewing Tropicana employees, growers, farmers, and others. Hamilton, who has consulted with one of the firms involved in a Tropicana lawsuit, said she would like to see Tropicana be clearer in its labeling and stop using words such as "fresh," ''natural" and "pure."
"It's not simply orange, it's complicated orange," she said. "I'm just trying to advocate for more honesty and more transparency."
Alissa discusses the litigation further in a recent CBC news interview here.