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The sad truth about "fresh" orange juice

Apologies if this has been covered on this board already, but I'm posting this as an extension of a discussion on the Ontario board.

Having read the following coverage of the book "Squeezed" has made me give up my Tropicana orange and grapefruit juices and buy a juicer to make my own juice.


Makes me very sad (and sorta angry).

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  1. Welcome to the world of the majority of the food industry.

    It is a truly sad, sad place.

    1. I am not a regular orange juice drinker, but living in Texas when I visit the Valley I always get some fresh from the orchard juice. I usually stand there and watch them squeeze it from oranges just brought in from the trees. There is no comparison at all with the juice purchased in the grocery stores.

      1. Are we talking about the stuff in the waxed cardboard boxes from the supermarket? Do people really think think that stuff is "freshly squeezed" in any real sense? How could it be, considering it's available by the boatload, 24/365, year in and year out?

        1. Sad? Angry? I'm a bit mystified, indeed floored, that anyone thought that NFC (Tropicana) is the same as fresh squeezed straight out of the orange skin juice. What planet do such people live on? Oranges, like anything that grows in a temperate zone, have seasons. It is not possible to provide the product at a steady rate year round, with a consistent flavor, without storing some of it somehow somewhere, and blending various batches for flavor. Obviously that is done--there is no other possibility. This is not rocket science. Similarly, it is not possible to package something like juice, once out of its natural skin, and have it stay good long enough to get it to you and have you drink it up before it goes bad without pasteurizing it. Certainly fresh squeezed tastes better. But how practical would it be for everybody to go and buy fresh oranges and squeeze them to have juice. That is a very very small market. Not gonna happen on a large scale.

          NFC is the next step down on the flavor scale from fresh squeezed. Every time oj is pasteurized the flavor degrades, and that is why NFC can never be as good as fresh squeezed. But NFC juice still better than from concentrate juice such as Minute Maid, which has been much more pasteurized simply through the concentration process, and then AFAIK once again after it is reconstituted.

          If you want the absolute best oj, and have the money and time to spend and don't mind the trouble, fresh squeezed is certainly the best. But for most people that is a fantasy. NFC such as Tropicana is the next best, and good enough for the vast range of people who have lives. Even the vast minority who really really care about their food, and want fresh local everything, unless they are independently wealthy and have lots of time on their hands, are going to have to choose their food battles. For me, fresh oj is not worth the fight--there are too many other demands. NFC is fine.

          This all reminds me of people who can't understand why everyone doesn't insist on eating only fresh local tomatoes all the time, because they are indeed so much better, but oops, they are only available a short time each Summer. Reality is such a downer.

          Enjoy your juicer. Come back in a year and let us know how it all worked out.

          18 Replies
          1. re: johnb

            I'm ok with pasteurization and assumed that NFC was pasteurized. But what they do goes way beyond that. And you read the first link, you'll see that Tropicana used to freeze slabs of fresh orange juice to provide a year round source. That's ok with me -- makes sense given the cycle of growing seasons. What's NOT ok with me is keeping juice in tanks for a year, stripping out the oxygen (and thereby the flavor and god knows what else) and adding chemical "flavor packs" to make it taste like oranges again...and then claiming that this is "fresh" orange juice and making me pay a premium for it. It's a marketing and positioning issue for me -- I know when I'm buying a tomato in January that it was either grown in a hot house or shipped from thousands of miles away. "Pure premium", "not from concentrate", "fresh squeezed" implies a lot more than what we're really getting.

            So yes, I WILL enjoy my juicer, thank you very much.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              >>>"Pure premium", "not from concentrate", "fresh squeezed" implies a lot more than what we're really getting. <<<

              Boloney. I don't believe Tropicana has ever claimed the term "fresh squeezed." It certainly does not appear on any of their cartons I have examined or is claimed for their product on their website. For that matter, any orange juice, including Donald Duck canned, is squeezed from fresh oranges--the term means nothing, but again they don't use it. As to "pure premium" and "not from concentrate," Tropicana certainly can claim those terms, and they are meaningful in distinguishing NFC juice from reconstituted juice, a lower-quality product.

              Their website, as well as other readily available sources, make clear what their production process is, including storage of near-frozen juice in aseptic tanks, add-back of orange oil, and blending. If you did not know this, too bad, but your outrage and dismay is frankly misplaced. There is nothing to be outraged about. You should educate yourself before you buy things, not be "outraged" afterward. If you are claiming they misled you, then you ought to look at your own perception as much as to anything they did.

              Speaking of misleading, the article you linked engages in its own misleading remarks. She slips back and forth from talking about NFC juice and FC juice, and doesn't make the distinction clear, which purposely IMO paints NFC is a bad light. Reader beware. She tries to let on that the "flavor packets" are some type of Kool-aid chemicals, and avoids the fact that the stuff is 100% from oranges (mostly orange oil). Also, the claim that the deaeration process is somehow destroys the flavor which then has to be added back later, and implying this makes the product somehow "bad," is bunk. The juice is deaerated to make it oxygen free--aseptic storage amounts to oxygen free storage of a sterilized substance, which prevents oxydization, ie spoilage (duh). Processes like this are common--Perrier takes out the bubbles then carbonates them back in later. C'est la vie. The product still is what they claim it is, and while it doesn't taste the same as fresh squeezed (the losses are volitile compounds that are easily added back later, not nutritional elements), it still tastes reasonably good.

              If you want to drink only juice you have squeezed yourself, fine, it's a wonderful thing to drink. But spare us the indignation. NFC juice as produced is a perfectly wholesome, tasty, healthy, and convenient product. I drink lots of it, and BTW I have several juicers in the house. There is nothing wrong with it or with drinking it. If you don't understand what you are getting, look to yourself.

              And maybe you will drink fresh squeezed juice the rest of your life. Great. But my guess is most people who start down that road come back pretty quickly, and in short order are headed to the dairy case just like the rest of us.

              1. re: johnb

                This is what happens when a non-scientist with little (and I'm beeing generous) or zero food industry experience decides to write a book and carries on as some kind "expert" in that area. No, I have not read her book but I will. I have been to Troficana OJ plants and she either does not understand the processes involved or is deliberately misleading....either way not good.

                1. re: johnb

                  Tropicana doesn't use "fresh squeezed", they use "pure squeezed", which is a load of marketing hooey. How else is one going to get the juice out of an orange besides squeezing it?

                  I just have to ask, after going through these posts, is the word "squeezed" looking a little odd to anyone else?

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Well, JK, I suppose they can reem it out. So then it would be "fresh reemed", or even "pure reemed", which is how I feel sometimes. How would "fresh reemed" look on a carton of OJ. That would be a big seller :-)

                    I haven't seen you since the last time I was over on the Southwest Board. How are things out there in PHX and LV?

                    1. re: johnb

                      It is actually "reemed" but like you said that would be too much to put it on the package.

                    2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      Well, you could grind/pulverise the entire oranges (seeds and skin included) and get juice that way...that's what is done in Mexico...

                      1. re: Pollo

                        cuba, too. fun stuff! ;-)

                        ps john b, i'm with you and pollo on this topic. 100% pure!

                        signed, florida native

                    3. re: johnb

                      "Pure Premium" means nothing ....it's a registered trademark.
                      Tropicana Pure PremiumĀ®

                      1. re: monku

                        You are correct from a legal standpoint. It's certainly a slippery area. Anybody can say theirs is a "premium" product. The term is a generic one. But the term "premium" as applied to OJ is often used to denote juice that is made from NFC juice only, not concentrate. For example, groceries that sell both grades under their private label often refer to the more-expensive NFC juice as their "premium" selection. As such, Tropicana's use of "pure premium," to my mind anyway, meaningfully and accurately depicts their 100% NFC juice as superior to their main competitor, Minute Maid, which is made from concentrate, at least the last time I looked. Of course MM also uses the generic term "premium" on their labels, illustrating that by itself it has no legal meaning. As always, buyer beware.

                        1. re: johnb

                          It's the cola wars....
                          Pepsico owns Tropicana and Coca Cola owns Minute Maid

                          1. re: monku

                            True but they were already rivals before either was acquired by its current beverage company owner. Tropicana only came under Pepsi's wing in 1998, tho MM has been a Coke brand since 1960.

                            The ubiquity of Coke and Pepsi in the world beverage business is amazing sometimes. I recall a year or two ago looking at (to me) very strange bottles of some strange drinks from Asia in a Super H, with almost no English or even roman letters on the labels, and turning them around only to discover that were produced by some Asian subsidiary of the Coca Cola Company, Atlanta Georgia thank you very much.

                            1. re: johnb

                              tropicana used to be made from concentrate, "back in the day".....just like minute maid.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                I don't believe that's true. The predecessor company was in the concentrate business among other businesses. Its founder developed the flash pasteurization process in 1954 and started selling NFC juice under the Tropicana Pure Premium name. The name Tropicana was adopted for the company in 1957. AFAIK the Tropicana name, at least with the Pure Premium addition, was never used for anything but NFC juice. If it ever was it certainly hasn't been for over 50 years.

                                1. re: johnb

                                  I remember Tropicana being in both white and orange cartons at one time. The orange was from concentrate, and the white carton was not from concentrate.

                                  1. re: deibu

                                    Tropicana always had better OJ than MM so the comparison of the two is now warranted...just a personal opinion. To give more insight how Trop became owned by Pepsi I know for a fact that Coke was in prolonged negotiations to buy Trop. But as usuall the boys from Atlanta were too cheap and walked away from the deal and literary a few weeks later Pepsi bought Trop. That was one of those "Oh S**T" moments for Coke....

                                  2. re: johnb

                                    i grew up in florida, so i'm familiar with oj. and it wasn't as long ago as 1957 that tropicana wasn't all NFC. "pure premium" was added when they began the NFC line.

                            2. re: johnb

                              The thread motivated me to go look at the store brand OJ in my fridge, and here's what the side of the carton says:

                              "Naturally delicious Public Premium Original Style Orange Juice is freshly squeezed from 100% pure Florida oranges- never from concentrate. There are no added sugars or artificial additives. And quick-pasteurization ensures the premium freshness and sweet, refreshing flavor you crave."

                              Front of carton:

                              "Publix Premium Original Style Orange Juice without pulp is made exclusively from 100% pure Florida oranges"

                              Parse that one as you will. Spouse just firmly believes it tastes significantly better than Tropicana.

                    4. If I can ask what is probably a dumb question with an obvious answer - from a nutritional standpoint, disregarding taste or texture - does anyone know how does the frozen concentrate o.j. (that stuff in the little can) stacks up against either the NFC or reconstituted juices? I'm still going to either squeeze my own (unless I'm out), but I was just curious, thinking that it might not go through as many steps (at the supplier's end) as juice made from concentrate, or might not be frozen for quite as long, or sent to the stores sooner. Thanks.

                      1. This doesn't surprise me in the least, and wouldn't cause me to bat an eye about buying Tropicana NFC. I'm just fried that I cannot get Natalie's Orchard Island OJ at Trader Joe's anymore, but then again with the current depression it's probably best that I not spend money on that....

                        1. Interesting and enlightening read, TJ. It seems that many of us have been blissfully unaware of many things - especially regarding our foods. "Deaeration" and "Flavor Packets" are my two new vocabulary terms of the day. Ugh.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lynnlato

                            The flavor packets thing might be a little extreme, the article is short on details, but in a real sense it seems no different to me than using orange juice and orange rind in the same recipe. There's nothing to suggest they're using extraneous flavor enhancers or anything like that.

                            As for de-aeration and storage at non-freezing temperature, etc. I don't see why it's any different, conceptually, than any of the other myriad things we do to preserve food whether they're high tech or low tech methods. What catches my eye is the automatic assumption that something unkown and awful "must be" happening as a result of this processing. Air causes spoilage, so why is removing it bad? Just because it sounds weird or technological? I'm neither an early adopter nor a Luddite but I have no more of a problem drinking previously de-aerated grapefruit juice than I do drinking juice that was squeezed "fresh" 6 months ago and then kept frozen... If they can do either in a way that leaves it tasting good without adding a lot of extraneous stuff whatever it might be, more power to them...

                            Needless to say, if you have the time, space and energy to squeeze enough juice to supply yourself, it will taste better and probably be better for you (assuming you drink it soon after squeezing) than most anything you can buy, but that's always been the case.

                            1. re: MikeG

                              Of course, if one believes the processing of NFC is somehow dishonestly marketing, there's another, greener, option for people who want OJ out of season at a distance from citrus trees:

                              Frozen OJ concentrate....

                              1. re: MikeG

                                I don't drink OJ, so it's neither here nor there for me. Processed is processed. It's interesting, however, to have it spelled out and understand exactly how it is "processed" was my point.

                            2. This is a tangent -- but I've wondered why lemon and lime juice from a bottle tastes differently than freshly-squeezed. I'm no scientist, but I would've thought that citric acid couldn't break down / alter so easily.

                              Maybe I should squeeze some limes, hold it for a few weeks, and taste it.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Reignking

                                The acidic dimension is very durable, but the effects of the volatile perfuming oils have a VERY short half life (a matter of a few hours). That's why, when a recipe says fresh-squeezed, pay attention. When you're using citrus juice only for its acidic qualities, it's not important. But otherwise, it's very important.

                                1. re: Karl S

                                  You're no doubt right. I imagine as well that the bottled stuff is pasteurized??? or otherwise something is done/added to preserve it, and surely that has an impact.

                                  As to Reignking's OP, I don't think I'd squeeze fresh lemons or limes and hold them for a few weeks--I have a strong suspicion that wouldn't work out too well, but what the heck, Reignking, if you do it, let us know what happened..

                              2. Thanks for the heads up, TorontoJo.

                                1. Wow, such vitriol. I thought this was Chowhound, where we share information and try to eat the best food we can. All I was doing was sharing information, hardly being "indignant" or "outraged" or demanding that it "be squeezed by human hands". I'm not telling anyone not to drink NFC juice, and I'm sure I will continue to buy it out of convenience now and then. But if I choose to make my own juice when I can, I hardly think I'm waving my fairy wand and spreading my magic dust.

                                  And by the way, the author is a fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, so to accuse her of having zero food industry experience seems a bit harsh.

                                  So I'm going to "zip it" now, as requested, and quietly go back to the Ontario board, where the posters sure seem a lot friendlier.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    Don't be intimidated by the others - they likely work in the industry and are trying to preserve their jobs. Just kidding, but seriously, I don't see what all the negativity is about. TJ was simply provoking debate/discussion of a topic that is relevant today what with the New Yorker piece, the book mentioned here and the Food Inc. documentary just released.

                                    I'm glad you shared it. Some folks here get into this mob mentality and they hop on the beatdown bandwagon. Dissension is healthy but lets not be nasty, 'hounds.

                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                      i don't know the author's background, but her position as a "a fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy" doesn't guarantee any actual food industry experience. have a look at the bios of their staff and board. other than one person on the board, who is a sometime "farmer," i didn't see anyone with industry experience. they are academics and activists. this "institute" is an advocacy group with a definite agenda: http://www.iatp.org/

                                      i've noticed that groups like these can often conflate facts (or omit fact or context) in order to skew opinion toward their position.

                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                        I didn't see anybody claiming the author lacked credentials. What they're complaining about are the claims that this is more scandalous than many of us feel it is. Also, the author is naturally trying to stir up controversy to sell her book. The bit about Brazil strikes me as spurious and a little offensive- as a Canadian you must be sensitive to the use of "it's not Amurrrican!" argument. I have no problem with my oranges being grown in Brazil- heck, I'm happy not to have to consume American produce all the time.

                                        On my list of food concerns, this one ranks pretty low and I'm not going to stop drinking processed OJ.

                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                          I read all sorts of labels, try to buy locally from farmer's markets as much as possible, avoid as much processed food as possible and consider myself both health-conscious and a foodie. And I've never once thought to question the marketing term "squeezed from fresh oranges" as being different than "fresh squeezed". Which of course it is. I always just assumed they got their oranges from Chile or Brazil during the off-season. I feel like such a consumer sheep.

                                          I like to know what chemical processes are being done to my food, because empirical evidence or not, the rising rates of cancers, the exponentially slower rate of modern bodies decompositions, and my own gut feelings go against my wanting more treated foods. So I sincerely appreciate the links.

                                        2. I get Natalie's Florida juice at Kroger. It's been pasteurized, but other than that,no processing. It's very good, and cheaper and more convenient than squeezing my own.

                                          1. I'm not sure what the big deal is about this...just looks like some kind of scare mongering.
                                            It just seems like a total non-issue to me. I thought it was fairly common knowledge that the juice is comprised of frozen juices from a variety of sources and is pasteurized for stability.
                                            In any case, it still tastes a hell of a lot better than concentrate.

                                            1. Hmm. I acutally like orange juice from frozen concentrate, I don't drink a lot of it so I like to keep it frozen and just mix up a few spoonfuls at a time to make a glass, it's much more convenient and better tasting than buying a carton which tastes fresh for only a few days.

                                              1. One last comment -- one of the points that I think some folks are missing is not about the pasteurization and storage, but rather about the flavoring that is added to the juice. These flavors are not the natural orange oils added back in, but rather chemical concoctions developed by the same companies that make perfumes. To quote from one of the articles:

                                                "Flavor and fragrance houses, the same ones that make high end perfumes, break down orange essence and oils into their constituent chemicals and then reassemble the individual chemicals in configurations that resemble nothing found in nature. Ethyl butyrate is one of the chemicals found in high concentrations in the flavor packs added to orange juice sold in North American markets, because flavor engineers have discovered that it imparts a fragrance that Americans like, and associate with a freshly squeezed orange."

                                                I'm not trying to fear monger, just trying to make people aware. I didn't know and figure that there are others like me who would appreciate the information.

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: TorontoJo

                                                  """reassemble the individual chemicals in configurations that resemble nothing found in nature.""""

                                                  i don't think that is true. ethyl butyrate, through a little net research, is found to be natural or synthetically derived. there are many manufacturers making the natural version. http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/d...

                                                  i picked one at random listed as natural, and here is their certification re the EU standards:

                                                  thanks for your information, torontojo. i usually will look deeper and further when i see something that seems alarming. so many take advantage of alarmism to foster a specific political agenda. i'm not suggesting you have done this, however. but others you cite are doing this, in my opinion.

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                    For me, making too much of the distinction can lead to the altogether too common kind of Luddite approach to chemistry that I don't respect. "Orange oil" is just as much a "chemical" as "Ethyl butyrate".

                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                      but the chemicals are the same chemicals, no? i hate when people demonize the word "chemicals" (i'm not saying you are necessarily doing this, TJ) Everything IS chemicals. The flavor compounds found in oranges ARE chemicals.

                                                      Is there something harmful about ethyl butyrate? or is the name just scary?

                                                      reminds me of this :

                                                      1. re: thew

                                                        "or is the name just scary?"

                                                        that's what I was getting at with the Luddite reference: the fear of dihydrogen monoxide (aka DHMO)..

                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                          i remember dating a very nice physicist who explained to me why i loved grand marnier so much, and why it was so heady. it was the "esters and aldehydes!" yum! don't diss chemicals. "chemicals R us."

                                                        2. re: thew

                                                          Fair enough -- it's not the word chemical that bothers me (organic chemistry was one of my favorite classes!). Perhaps I'm interpreting the author incorrectly, or perhaps she is deliberately trying to mislead? I guess I was thinking of it like perfume -- a rose scented perfume is not a rose. Yes, it may have a similar chemical structure, but it's not the real thing. So when I drink orange juice, I was kind of hoping that I was tasting real oranges, not a synthetic reconstruction of the chemicals that make oranges taste like oranges.

                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                            my post says that you are not necessarily ingesting anything "synthetic."

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              Gotcha -- I'm curious as to the definition of a "natural" compound. Do you know how they make it?

                                                              In the end, they are still adding orange flavor back into the juice. I guess that's the price we pay for expecting every container to taste the same.

                                                            2. re: TorontoJo

                                                              Well, critical components of the fragrance of "real oranges" have a very short half life. If you want the convenience of not having to juice on the spot, you'd need those components to be bolstered to keep them fresh tasting. Citrus juice keeps its acidity for a long time, but the fragrance dulls within hours of juicing. It's the nature of the product.

                                                              Btw, concentrate that has been frozen quickly can test fresher than "fresh" made from lackluster orange - but again, that fragrance bloom will dull within hours of making it.

                                                            3. re: thew

                                                              Chemicals may be chemicals, but how they are made can affect people. I happen to be very allergic to corn & all its derivatives. Most citric acid in the US is manufactured from corn, not citrus fruit as most would think. I fought avoiding unlabeled sources of citric acid for the longest time, but finally gave in a little less then a year ago. I went from having nearly constant reactions to now having gone 5-6 months without a single one.

                                                              Citric acid is often added to juices to change its acidity, taste profile & add vitamin C. It wouldn't surprise me if it was part of those mystery 'flavor packets'- I don't drink orange juice & am not in the mood to test my hypothesis personally.

                                                              1. re: anniemax

                                                                I never knew all that about Tropicana.
                                                                When I can I usually buy freshly squeezed orange juice,the store makes their own and sells it in 500ml and 1l bottles.
                                                                The only problem with that is it has to be drank in 3 days at most and does not keep-it is not pasteurized.
                                                                It is very tasty though,they also make their own fresh grapefruit juice.
                                                                I find it just tastes much richer than Tropicana.

                                                                I still drink some Tropicana,but not that much as I prefer apple cider from a local place,I've never really liked apple juice as much though.

                                                                Just find it funny that Tropicana says squeezed from fresh oranges,what would they write instead?
                                                                From mouldy oranges?

                                                                1. re: MiriamOttawa

                                                                  Well, non-pasteurized will taste richer than pasteurized, of course: it's not been cooked. Once an item gets too popular, though, production has to increase, but then shelf life also becomes an issue because demand, although increased, is variable day-to-day. So long as something can be made and sold in small batches and that meets demand, you can get away with not pasteurizing.

                                                            4. re: TorontoJo

                                                              The same companies that make the perfume additives also make natural and artificial food aditives.
                                                              I actually spoke to a couple of the companies in the US, that were the big companies because I was doing soap making stuff.
                                                              From what I saw on their websites,they have natural flavors and artificial ones,same for perfume oils all natural and artificial.
                                                              I really doubt that Tropicana would put ARTIFICIAL things in the juice.

                                                              That the company they get their supplies from happens to make perfumes or perfume components is really irrelevant to this.

                                                              I actually just wanted to add, I remember the old Tropicana ads that were on TV and said "nothing added,nothing taken away".
                                                              The ones where the straw was stuck into the orange?
                                                              I guess that was kind of a misleading campaign.


                                                              Also, how many people could really afford fresh juice?
                                                              At my local grocer a 500ml small bottle is around $3 and the 1 liter is $5 or 6 making that 2 liters of fresh orange juice almost $12!

                                                            5. I'm currently reading "Squeezed." It's a shocking look, not just at the OJ industry, but at the chicanery that goes on in the world of processed food in general. Bottom line: If you want freshly squeezed OJ, squeeze it yourself. Some markets offer this product that they squeeze themselves, but beware -- if it has a shelf-life greater than 3-4 days, it's not the real deal.

                                                              Oh, and just to rain on your parade a bit more, the majority of OJ sold in this country now comes from orchards in Brazil planted on what used to be tropical rain forest.

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                I'm not sure if it's the majority (do you have specific stats on that?), and it would depend in part on the vicissitudes of the latest Florida crop, which varies greatly depending on frosts, hurricanes, and goodness knows what else. But as to the comment about the rain forest, essentially everything we all eat and otherwise use every day is grown on soil that was once some type of primeval forest or similar. Do you know what used to be where your wheat is now grown, your sugar produced, or your cotton, or your heirloom apples for that matter? It was all converted from something else. That is just the way it is. Nobody likes the loss of rain forest, but how is it so fundamentally different from every other "loss" that has been generated for centuries as humans have done what is necessary to feed themselves in growing numbers?

                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                  john the difference is before it was done in ignorance, as there was no concept of running out of such things as forest, clean water, etc.

                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    Ignorance or no ignorance, the fact remains that to grow food in the quantities needed by 6 billion people you have to radically change what was there before. That is the point. Just because you would like to preserve something, such as rain forest or savanah or whatever, that doesn't mean you can and still feed everybody. It has many nuances, and you can do it well or badly, but the big picture is that, whether you or I or anyone else likes it or not, to grow more food you are probably going to have to degrade something that was there before. That has been going on since the dawn of civilization.

                                                                    1. re: johnb

                                                                      don't assume you know my stance on this, as i have not stated it yet. i just said it not the same thing doing a thing in ignorance and doing it knowingly.

                                                                2. re: pikawicca

                                                                  We work on Amazon deforestation. As bad as the problem is:

                                                                  1. Soybeans are the main problem.
                                                                  2. Much of the orange crop comes from areas deforested long, long ago (in the NE Amazon) and from the Cerrados.
                                                                  3. Oranges are an environmentally much better crop than annuals like soy.
                                                                  4. It would be great if we could get oranges established on the millions of ha of degraded pastures in the Amazon.

                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    Not so great for the American orange grower, Sam; they're being driven out of business.

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      A part of globalization - a good thing if everyone plays fairly. The US and the EU are the biggest cheaters, however. My (extended) family used to grow oranges (and peaches). We were driven out of business long ago and not by international competition.

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        Sam is right. But in any case I'm not convinced Brazil is what's doing it. The Florida growers seem to be able to hold their own and sell all their production at a profit, provided they don't get a freeze and/or a hurricane. Of course, many of them have found they can do still better by selling their land to developers. Meanwhile the Florida's Natural Co-op folks seem to be able to sell their 100% Florida juice against Tropicana with their part-Brazialian juice and do OK.

                                                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        I agree. Trees are better, and help maintain the fragile soil much better (no annual tillage, extended root systems).

                                                                        A lot of urbanized people romanticize (in an environmental way) farming that actually involves tillage practices that weigh heavily on the soil and on animal life.

                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                          sam, don't soybeans replenish the soil's nitrogen?

                                                                          and, aren't soybeans a better crop for their protein value to food-needy populations?

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            Grain legumes like soy do not fix and return significant nitrogen to the soil. The fixed N is taken with the harvested crop. Soy is used for a wide variety of purposes, manyy industrial, and probably least as a protein rich food source for the poor.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                              but i thought soy was used in crop rotation here in the states. why are orange groves better, anyhow?

                                                                              any you're saying soy for food is the *least* use of soy crops in poor countries? what is the primary protein food crop?

                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                because of this sub-thread, i'm doing some informal research now on nitrogen-fixation by peanuts and soybeans. i recalled the great g.w. carver and his work and research with peanuts in the south.... http://books.google.com/books?id=6Is_...

                                                                                and from china a paper on inter-cropping between legumes (specifically peanuts) and rice -- re nitrogen transfer and nitrogen fixing. http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN...

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  Legumes require less N but take up P and K. All legumes can fix various amounts of atmospheric N, but in any grain legume, most of that is taken when the grain is harvested. Legume cover crops to be effective in improving soil need to be incorporated. Soy is used mainly as a livestock feed in "modern" systems and for things as diverse as plastics. Proteins in poor countries come from from common beans in Latin America to fish in Asia to pulses in the sub-continent.

                                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                    ok, thanks. on john batchelor's sunday night show (WABC, new york), there was a discussion in the first hour (iirc) about rain forest clearing, how it was used for other purposes, then how soy was encouraged. cargill was mentioned, but not as evil instigator. <<the show is podcast, too, so i'll listen to the whole segment. i encourage people to listen to this show. very interesting. (also streamed from WABC, then KSFI after that with new content). destination listening.....>>

                                                                        2. The best orange juice I ever had was from a stand in Safed, Israel, squeezed in front of me from Jaffa oranges.

                                                                          1. ... no worries, as long as the vodka is from a freshly opened bottle, and the ice cubes were made from fresh water.