Quill & Quire
“Most know that Tropicana Pure Premium is not from concentrate. Few know what it is.” That’s what Toronto-based author Alissa Hamilton says in Squeezed
, her examination of the evolution of Florida’s orange juice industry. For anyone who has never given a thought to the origins of their second-favourite breakfast drink (after coffee), Squeezed
may come as an eye-opener. Beneath its “aura of golden goodness,” Hamilton argues, orange juice is a great big corporate sham: processed and re-processed, with flavours leached out and re-added, then the final product is trucked off to a grocery store near you. It wasn’t always like this, says Hamilton. Travelling from Toronto to Lakeland, Florida, she looks back on the good old days when freshly squeezed Florida orange juice was actually fresh and actually from Florida (the majority of the juice consumed today is concentrate from land-rich, environmentally lax Brazil). During her research, Hamilton stumbles upon the transcripts of the FDA’s 1961 trial hearings, “Matter of Orange Juice and Orange Juice Products: Definitions and Standards of Identity.” Despite her legal enthusiasm (“The script read as if written for the theatre … multiple subplots, lead characters”), differentiating pasteurized from concentrated from reconstituted orange juice is just as exciting as it sounds. With some exceptions – Can simple housewives understand food labels? Will they successfully follow directions to add water? – the explication drags. Although the FDA foresaw a shift from small to big business, they couldn’t predict the power of advertising. Hamilton cuts to the present, when the word Tropicana has become synonymous with orange juice; “not from concentrate” has slyly replaced the more off-putting term “pasteurized”; Tropicana has been bought by Pepsi, and its competitor, Minute Maid, is owned by Coke. Hamilton’s analysis is interesting and her research thorough, but she skims over key industrial issues (migrant Mexican labour populations, Florida’s growers selling out to condo developers) and disregards the green movement toward local and organic foods. Moreover, Hamilton assumes that her readers, much like that 1960s housewife, have little knowledge or agency, despite the fact that most of them are likely health buffs already. Or, more succinctly, we already know there’s pulp in our juice.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Behind the wholesome facade industry has created for orange juice is Alissa Hamilton's remarkable story of corporate power, marketing, trade and labor issues, and shrinking biodiversity. This story needs telling.”—Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., Yale University, co-author of Food Fight: The Inside Story of The Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It
(Kelly D. Brownell)
"Full of zesty, fresh insight, concentrated scholarship, and unsweetened truths, Alissa Hamilton's Squeezed will give you a healthy mistrust not just of orange juice, but of corporate America's agenda for all our food."—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved
". . . reveals that orange juice, with its image as a natural Florida product . . . is often shipped from South America. . . . Consumers have a right to know what they're consuming . . . and that is at the heart of [the] story."—Devra First, Boston Globe
(Devra First Boston Globe