Mixed Fruit Juices and Drinks

Nine the wiser, or is there a best brand?

Consumer Voice - - Contents - A Con­sumer Voice Report

From a health per­spec­tive, fresh juice is of course prefer­able but its lim­ited avail­abil­ity dur­ing off sea­sons may make the pack­aged vari­ant a con­ve­nient choice for con­sumers.And does this con­ve­nience en­tail any com­pro­mise, in the sense that the pro­cess­ing bit may also re­duce the quan­tity of nu­tri­ents and en­zymes in­her­ently avail­able in the fresh fruits? Sev­eral do­mes­tic and multi­na­tional com­pa­nies are mar­ket­ing their brand of fruit juices/fruit bev­er­ages/fruit drinks from juice con­cen­trates, adding per­mit­ted preser­va­tives and colour­ing sub­stances for bet­ter ac­cept­abil­ity. Are they all gen­er­ally safe for con­sump­tion, keep­ing in mind the pos­si­bil­ity of con­tam­i­na­tion by pes­ti­cide residues or heavy met­als like lead and ar­senic? What fac­tors de­ter­mine the qual­ity and taste of the juice/drink? Do you know that added sugar is not per­mit­ted in the pure (100%) juices? It is per­mit­ted only in bev­er­ages/ drinks. Do you know that there is a limit for added syn­thetic colour in juices/drinks? It is such and other as­pects that we have sought to cap­ture in a pa­ram­e­ter-by-im­por­tant pa­ram­e­ter test­ing of nine pop­u­lar brands in the mar­ket.

When fruits are made into pulp or juice, they are bound to lose some of their im­por­tant fi­bres and vi­ta­min con­tent. These drinks usu­ally con­tain more sugar than the ac­tual fruit. The fol­low­ing report as­sesses, among other things, the sugar pro­file of three brands of mixed fruit juice and six of readyto-serve fruit drinks. Other key pa­ram­e­ters that we tested in­cluded to­tal sol­u­ble solids (TSS), acid­ity, added syn­thetic colour, nu­tri­tional con­tents (en­ergy value, car­bo­hy­drates, iron, sodium, etc.), pres­ence of heavy met­als, pes­ti­cide residues, preser­va­tives, and mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

As per brands’ dec­la­ra­tions, the ma­jor in­gre­di­ents in fruit juices are wa­ter (as re­con­sti­tuted from juice con­cen­trate) and mixed fruit juice, and a frac­tional per­cent­age of an­tiox­i­dant, acid­ity reg­u­la­tor and preser­va­tives. In fruit drinks/bev­er­ages, the ma­jor in­gre­di­ents are wa­ter, mixed fruit juice and sugar in­clud­ing added sugar, and a frac­tional per­cent­age of an­tiox­i­dant, acid­ity reg­u­la­tor and preser­va­tives.

While there is no re­li­able method as yet to de­tect per­cent­age of juice con­tent, our test results as­sure us that the nine brands ful­fil the min­i­mum re­quire­ments and are safe for hu­man con­sump­tion. While there were some vari­a­tions, these were well within the spec­i­fied lim­its.

The tests were con­ducted at an NABL-ac­cred­ited lab­o­ra­tory and as per re­quire­ments spec­i­fied in Food Safety and Stan­dards (FSS) Reg­u­la­tions, 2011, re­lated In­dian Stan­dards and man­u­fac­tur­ers’ dec­la­ra­tions.

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