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Off Topic: Orange Juice Shelf Life
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 16776766

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject: Off Topic: Orange Juice Shelf Life Reply with quote


Article Digest:
I discovered this bottle of TreeTop Orange Juice on my desk.
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Well, not really discovered - I always knew it was there, but I just didn't really look at it too much. I picked it up sometime in the Winter of 2004 during a conference at a local hotel. Nowhere on the packaging does it say "Refrigerate", so I didn't. The first month, I meant to drink it, but after that I didn't know if it was good anymore. Now that it's October, a coworker of mine said I should call them and find out if it's still good to drink. That's exactly what I did.

On the bottle's label, under ingredients, it reads:
<div class="quote" style="text-align:center">QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
CALL 1-800-542-4055
9 AM - 4 PM PT (MON - FRI)
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When I called the number I was put through to the voicemail of a woman named Jenny Bailey. I left a message saying that I had a 10 oz. plastic bottle of orange juice and would like to know if I could still drink it. She called me back the next day, but I was not at my desk when the call came through. She left a message stating that if I could provide her with the lot number printed on the shoulder of the bottle, then she could tell me when the shelf life expired.

Two days later, I remembered to call the 800 number again and this time I got Sonya who looked up the lot number and informed me that my orange juice was packaged on November 10, 2003. The shelf life on the TreeTop orange juice in plastic bottles is six months, she explained. She suspected (correctly) that the orange juice had started to turn brown, but went on to assure me that it was perfectly safe for me to open it and take a sip to test the flavor. I declined.
[IMG]

According to Sonya from TreeTop, the orange juice's shelf life is determined by how long the juice will keep it's fresh look and flavor. TreeTop claims six months for their orange juice because in their studies after six months the orange juice begins to change colors due to oxidation (not bacteria cultures). The orange juice is perfectly safe to drink due to the pasteurization process, but after it changes color, it loses a great deal of its flavor. Sonya also told me that there is probably no nutritional content in my beverage anymore.

Since my curiosity was piqued, I asked if refrigerating the orange juice would have been a smart thing to do. She said that refrigerating the orange juice would definitely prolong its shelf life. Since my bottle was prepared for unrefrigerated storage, placing it in refrigeration would probably extend its life for much more than a year. Surely, had I refrigerated, the beverage would look and taste much as it would have in February when it entered my possession. Sonya also mentioned that once an orange juice product is opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than a week before being finished or disposed of.

Now I'm just contemplating whether or not I should taste this brown juice.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

C'mon taste it! Pretend you're in your third year of engineering living with a couple other guys in an apartment. You know you'd do it then. I would.
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Skaran
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you've got this bottle from the Winter of 2004, I assume you're back from the future? I see all signs of Engineering: a well-tweaked blog; everything except peekaboo commenting.

--Karan
karanmisra.com
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taste! Taste! Taste! Enquiring minds want to know. Interesting post though. I find food shelf-life is an issue that isn't discussed often. Sell by dates often seem relative and I've kind of always assumed that in certain cases, they're bull. That perhaps they're just there to encourage you to buy more frequently. That's not to say that they'll taste great, clearly food past it's epiration date is past it's peak, but I'm still suspect in terms of edibility. Then again... food without the dates, like your OJ, is always weird. :| hehe... Stupid lot numbers. How uninformative!

-Dranore
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WhizGidget
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if you should try it... maybe just a little sip, and then sit and wait a few hours and see if it does anything odd to your digestive system.

I mean, I really like your blog, and want you to keep writing it, so I'm on the fence about you drinking more than a sip - I don't want anything bad to happen to you. They could always be wrong over at Tree Top, right?

Besides, who wants to drink orange juice that's brown and has lots its flavor and nutritional value? If you wanted to do that, you could add food coloring to orange soda and let it go flat.
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Guest






PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how much ambient light affects the shelf life. I know that with milk, one of the most important factors after temperature is to keep the actual fluid in the dark (whether by using an opaque carton, or by keeping it in a dark fridge).

It would be interesting to repeat the expirament with three bottles: a control on your desk, a bottle in a thick brown paper bag (or other opaque container) and a third in the fridge. I'm willing to bet that light is at least partially responsible for the degredation.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1617
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Winter of 2003
I think of Winter of 2004 as starting on Dec. 22, 2003 and ending March 20, 2004. To assign that winter to year 2003 seems "unfair" to 2004 as only 9 days occurred in 2003.

re: Tasting the OJ
My wife says that I should keep it around longer to see what happens to it and how dark it's going to get. Then call TreeTop again before taking a sip. I haven't decided yet...

re: Oxidation and Light
After TreeTop informed me that the darkening color was due to oxidation, I knew it had to do with light and wished I had more bottles to do some tests. Oh well.
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Alredhead
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I think that someone needs to do the test. I'm a student with not much more to do. Why not me? I'll see if I can grab 3 at the store and run the test. Hmmm, I'm a busy person, but maybe bored? Not sure yet about that.
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izaak
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why does Anonymous of 10.2.04 think its dark in the fridge? Every time I open mine the light is on.........
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, my fridge tends to have that as well..Wink
i would encourage you to at least take a little sip,
be sure to post your results!
i once had a carton of apple juice which was left for a similar period of time, took a taste one day..apple cider!!
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zorkerman
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think what we need to facilitate this is a couple of donations. If I were in school, and we found the old bottle of orange juice. I bet a couple friends could plunk down some dough, and get me to do it.

Come on man, what's your price?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By a scientist for once. Engineers don't like getting their hands dirty. You don't have to drink the whole thing. Just a taste.
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harsh
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having gone through a similar set of steps with a bottle of minutemaid OJ, including the call to the support line (oddly enough as a sophomore in engineering school)I definitely suggest tasting it. It wont kill you and while the oxidation kills most of the flavor, you will notice some subtleties in the juice that would be otherwise hidden by that pesky orange flavor.
come on man... do it, you know you want to (most compelling argument known to man)

BTW, found you through /. , great site, I like the recepie layout
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Iced Nyior
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TASTE IT!! TASTE IT!! *the crowd yells*

Hehe...if I were u...i'd taste it. Most prolly coz im one of those ppl still in uni and willing to do crazy things. Hehe Teasing

Personally, i've tasted an opened OJ left in the fridge for god-knows how many weeks. I saw it in my fren's fridge - he's living alone, bachelor boy - and asked if i could drink. As i wuz really thirsty, i poured myself a glass and took a hearty mouthfull. It tasted like beer....fermented orange juice...only then did dat fren of mine mention that he's not sure how long it's been thr...prolly 3-4 weeks. WTH?!?! hahaha....

But since urs is upopen...i bet it wouldnt taste as weird so try it....or mail it to me and I'll taste it for u...by the time it gets here (Malaysia in South East Asia) it'll probably be blacker than before. LOL!!

- CoCoNuT^iCe
http://coconutice.blogspot.com
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timfox123
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One word
V O D K A

Vodka and OJ. Drink half the bottle of Vodka and then mix the OJ with the other half.

Weeeeee
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