Putting the squeeze on Juice

Posted in Fruit Juices

Dear Brand Doctor,

What’s the difference between freshly squeezed orange juice and juice that has been pasteurized? Is one healthier than the other? Which one do you recommend?

~ Juicy Fruit Lover!

Dear Juicy Fruit,


Great questions, but you can stop beating yourself to a pulp over this matter! At BrandAid headquarters, we segment juices into two categories – freshly squeezed and processed. We are firm believers that “fresh” anything (foods or beverages) is usually going to pack the most nutritional bang for your buck.

However, in the juice category, the processed juices also squeeze out an excellent nutritional bang all their own! And to be honest, in some cases they can be more appealing options. Here’s why.

Freshly squeezed juice is extracted from the fruit and then packaged; it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, colors, or additives. So far, so good… right?

Not so fast. There’s a rub! Since freshly squeezed juice is not pasteurized, there may be some bacteria problems. For instance, when the fruit is squeezed to make juice, any bacteria present on the outside of the fruit may get into the juice. Eeek!

Due to several incidences of commercially sold unpasteurized juice that was contaminated with the potentially lethal bacterium E. coli O157:H7, it’s a rule that all unpasteurized juice must carry the following message on the label:

WARNING: This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Here’s our recommendation: if you want freshly squeezed juice, you’re probably better off making it yourself at home with a juicer or a Vita-Mix. Why? Simply because you’ll have more control.

Reality Check

Even though some nutrition is lost during processing, the processed juices are still good healthy options. Plus, knowing the juice you’re buying for you and your family (especially for your kids) is safe from harmful bacteria is worth the trade-off.

Here’s a quick tutorial on the types of processed juices you’ll find in your local grocery store:

Pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of heating liquid or semi-liquid foods to a particular temperature for a designated period sufficient to destroy certain bacteria. Published reports indicate that over 95% of the juice consumed by Americans is pasteurized.

Flash Pasteurization. A method of heat pasteurization of perishable beverages like milk, fruit and vegetable juices, and beer. It is done prior to filling into containers in order to kill microorganisms. Again, this process is to provide safer products and to extend their shelf life.

From Concentrate. The fruits used to make the juice are harvested, water is removed, and then upon making the juice, water is added back in.

Frozen Concentrate. This juice has been concentrated and frozen. It is ready to be consumed after reconstituting with water per the instructions on the container.


Be sure to tune in next Wednesday, our BestBrands day, when we’ll be providing a no-fail set of guidelines for choosing the healthiest juices at the grocery store. And since we’ve already done all the legwork by reading labels and tasting the products, we’ll serve up on a silver platter the brand-name juices that have earned the Brand Doctor’s BestBrands Stamp of Approval!

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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