ILLUSTRATION BY STUDIO TBC
You Call That Food?
What’s lurking in that list of ingredients can affect your health
right? Just the luscious juice and pulp squeezed from fresh fruit. Or not: Many brands
spike their juices with “flavor packs,” essences and oils formulated to simulate the
taste of, well, fresh-squeezed oranges. These “packs” contain chemicals such as ethyl
butyrate, but you’d never know it from the juice’s label. “Industry insiders say the formula for fresh orange flavor is as elusive as the formula for Coke,” says Alissa Hamilton,
Ph.D., J. D., the author of Squeezed: What You Don’t Know about Orange Juice.
It’s all perfectly legal. Ethyl butyrate is just one of nearly 4,000 additives that the
FDA has approved for use in our nation’s food supply. Without them, processed foods
wouldn’t look as appetizing, taste as fresh, or last as long in your pantry. But these
“enhancements” also mean you don’t always know what you’re eating. In the case of
OJ, pending class-action lawsuits have accused juice makers of misleading consumers. But you don’t have to wait—we have our own verdict on additives and your health.