Apple juice: As American as anything else made in China

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If there's one thing that gets me juiced ( there's actually a lot of things that do) it's that it's really hard to get apple juice anymore that doesn't come from concentrate shipped from China. All the major brands and most store brands use Chinese concentrate to make what I think most people would assume is an American drink.

Aside from wondering why it's so hard to get apple juice that is all American, China has had one heck of time keeping its food chain safe from contamination in recent years. The industry group the U.S. Apple Association has an entire FAQ dedicated to explaining why imported concentrate is safe and that only 42% of all apple juice sold in the U.S. is Chinese in origin.

First of all, if that was really accurate it's still stunning, but try to find some on your store shelves that isn't from China. A recent USDA report said China accounts for 80% of the world's apple juice export market.If you're wondering how to find out where the juice you drink comes from it isn't easy. Nation of origin identification is required, but making it clear and conspicuous apparently wasn't part of the deal. Typically, you will either find it stamped in an obscure location on the bottle in small type or included on the ingredients label. To make it more confusing, some brands including Tree Top, use imports seasonally.

China is the world's largest apple producer and, as it is with products that nation exports, it sells the concentrate for a fraction of what it is sold for in the U.S. The thing is Chinese apples are said to be so bitter they can barely be eaten. So they are made marketable by turning them into a powdery concentrate through an elaborate process. Fresh juice or juice not from concentrate is more likely tol be American in origin since Chinese concentrate is shipped dry in industrial-sized drums.

If it matters to you, you can still find apple juice made from American apples. It usually will cost a bit more, though. Among the companies that only use U.S. apples is Martinelli's. You'll find some other local or regional brands, too, often using crops from local orchards.

I know it's apples and oranges, but I don't feel a lot better that Tropicana is now using Brazilian oranges in its orange juice. Brazilian oranges also are found in several store brands.
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