Thursday, January 19, 2012

Economic adulteration of fruit juice

The adulteration of fruit juice is widespread. As with any commodity, juice manufacturers, blenders and users can secure considerable financial benefit from adulterating fruit juice.

It may be safely assumed that fruit juice falsification is a permanent hazard of commercial life.

It should be emphasized that food safety issues are not normally an issue in fruit juice adulteration.

This type of adulteration is called economic adulteration. Laws relating to this type of adulteration do not permit the use materials that are not described or implied on the label.

Although is becoming  increasingly sophisticated, it is normally seen as falling into one of the three types;
1. Over-dilution of juices with water
2. Use of cheaper solid ingredients
3. Blending of cheaper with more expensive juices

The issue of too much water being added to juices has largely been addressed through the application of a minimum solids content (measured in degrees Brix).

The colorants and cover-up compounds can be and have been used to cover up fruit juice adulteration.

The second category of adulteration is by far the most common. For example, apple juice will normally contain around 11% by weight of solids.

At least 90% of these solids are carbohydrate – sucrose, dextrose and fructose predominating.

Adulteration of major fruit juices and particularly orange and apple, became a significant issue in the 1980s and 1990s because of relative commodity price differentials between juice solids and sucrose.

Considerably cheaper sources of carbohydrates in roughly the same proportion as those found naturally in apple juice can be used to ‘stretch’ apple juice by a considerable proportion.

In the third category a cheaper juice can be used to adulterate a more expensive one; for example, elderberry juice can be used to extend strawberry or raspberry juice.

The addition of malic acid to low acidity apple juice concentrate to produce the more valuable high acid juice was another form of juice adulteration and in the case of more expensive red fruit juices, adulteration took many forms including dilution with less expensive juices, as well as carbohydrate additions.

Juice adulteration seldom carries any risk to heath. Nevertheless, passing off an assortment of cheap materials as sugars, acid and color as a costly and prized fruit juice is deceitful.  

Economic adulteration of fruit juice
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