Flavors are added even to the “Not from concentrate” 100% orange juice
Before I start, some trivia. Did you know Pepsi owns Tropicana Juice and Coke owns Minute Maid?
Now back to business. Orange Juice producers make it sound like the process is pretty straight forward: collect oranges, squeeze the juice out of them, pour it into the containers and ship to the stores.
Here is an article on Huffington Post, which informs us that the process is not so straight forward. In a nutshell, juice is squeezed/collected seasonally, and stored to be sold throughout the year. For storage oxygen is removed from the juice, which causes loss of flavor. When juice is ready to be bottled, special “flavor packs” are added to it; with different flavors based on the taste preferences @ juice destination. Problem is that these flavors are nothing but perfume. Since base materials for this synthetically engineered perfume are sourced from orange byproducts, they do not have to be listed in the ingredients.
I did some digging on the internet, and was able to confirm it. There is a process of air removal from orange juice, called “de-aeration” (From: USDA). When orange juice is subjected to this process, it looses its flavor – just as it does if it pasteurized or dehydrated into the concentrate.
All commercially available orange juice in USA, even organic stuff from “Organic Valley” I currently have in my fridge, is pasteurized (From: CDC)
The aforementioned web site kindly informs us that orange juice is pasteurized to protect people from harmful bacteria outbreaks, such as E. coli and Salmonella. All bacteria specified there originates in the animal excrement. A rhetorical question I have is why CDC is trying to sanitize the juice instead of figuring why oranges are exposed to the animal excrement…
I was also able to discover an article about production of “flavor packs” in USDA Citrus Research LAB (From: USDA)
So lets put all this information together. All commercial orange juice in US is pasteurized, therefore looses its content. Therefore, if your pasteurized orange juice tastes normal – it had flavors added to it.
FYI: original publication from Civil Eats about added flavors in retail orange juices.
Solution: get fresh organic oranges and just eat them as is, or squeeze your own juice.