Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tropicana Orange Juice Doesn't Rot

Some of you may recall the myth of the non-rotting McDonald's hamburger. Fortunately, this myth has been thoroughly debunked. But, I have been doing my own experiment:
We bought this carton of orange juice over 2.5 years ago, and the "best before" date is December 19, 2011. For the majority of the 2.5 years, this carton was held, unopened, at room temperature; it was hidden in the back of our spare fridge in the basement. Yet, there is no external signs that it was spoiled -- the carton isn't bulging or swollen. It just looks like a regular orange juice carton (well, except for the warning label):
So, I decided to open it and see what it looked and smelled like. This is what the juice looked like:
The only obvious change was that it was definitely oxidized -- it had a brown color instead of orange -- and some OJ sediment settled to the bottom, but there was no visible signs of mold or spoilage at all. It smelled like "fresh" orange juice. I was very tempted to taste it, but Stacy wisely convinced me that it wasn't worth it.

There has been a lot of coverage recently about the industrial methods used to make "fresh squeezed" orange juice. See here or here or here. But I think this total lack of spoilage of an allegedly-agricultural product held at room temperature for years speaks both to the amazingness of pasteurization, and to the extent of the marketing fib that is this:

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