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American-grown apple juice is hard to find

March
14

One day I am at the grocery store picking up a bottle of apple juice (very popular with the Pumpkin), and my usual brand-name juice is sold out. I look at the store brand and read the label more carefully than usual to make sure it doesn’t have added sugar, etc. I quickly notice a stamp that says the juice was made from concentrate from China. I am not too thrilled about that — not because of a kneejerk bias toward all Chinese products, but because I worry about what kind of pesticides are in use in foreign countries that have been outlawed in the United States. So, I keep looking, and wow, I soon discover that almost every apple juice bottle contains juice concentrate from China, regardless of brand name. And, if it’s not China, it’s another country — even an organic juice contains concentrate from Turkey. The only juice I can find that promises 100 percent U.S. apples is Mott’s Natural Apple Juice.

I learned last year when researching an article on the farm bill that New York is the No. 2 state in the country for apples. Apple growing is a $185 million business here in New York. Yet, here I am, a suburban New York mother, living in a state positively teeming with apples — and I almost can’t find juice made with U.S. apples, let alone local apples.

Finding the healthiest food for your child — that is, food with lots of nutrients but without harmful ingredients — can be a real challenge at the grocery store. I have pretty much rooted out everything with high-fructose corn syrup (with the exception of ketchup, without which Pumpkin would never eat eggs). I buy organic milk. We serve meals made with fresh vegetables every day. (Today’s dinner: a cup of red lentil soup with escarole and a slice of homemade whole-wheat cheese pizza.) And yet, I can’t help but feel frustrated when I think about having filled Pumpkin’s sippy cup with apple juice from China for nearly two years now.

This summer, we’re planning to join a local farm’s community-based agriculture program, which will give us a weekly share of the harvest. We do what we can. But when I think back to the recent slew of recalls from China, I think about all the dead animals who ate the tainted pet food. I plan to do more research on food safety. I want to find out how vulnerable we are to tainted food. Maybe the apple juice from China is perfectly fine. The U.S. Apple Association says it is. I’d love to hear from other parents about your own feelings on this. Do you check labels? How do you feel about your kids eating food made in China?

This entry was posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008 at 10:02 pm by Julie Moran Alterio. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: Eating, Environment, Health & safety, Parenting

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15 Responses to “American-grown apple juice is hard to find”

  1. Gina

    Julie, this is one topic that inflames me. People need to ban together (at least mothers do) and send a clear message to manufacturers that we don’t want products from countries that do not have the same regulations we do. Never mind the fact that the American farmers are losing their farmlands or being paid by our government NOT to grow wheat and other products.

    Why don’t you buy a juicer and juice your daughter an apple. Keep it on the counter and just use it for everything. They do make organic ketchup too –

    I’ve raised my own garden forever, and there is nothing better than going outside and picking up the salad ingredients fresh every day.

    Doesn’t it irk you that we’ve made so many wonderful laws in the US to protect consumers – but to skirt them because their profit would be cut – the corporations go to Mexico, China, India, Thailand, etc. to get cheaper labor. The only answer here is having one voice that’s united. What would happen if all mothers boycotted apple juice for several months – it would be fun to see.

  2. Rich

    I buy apple cider, (in the produce section). It says on the label that it’s made from apples grown right here in PA.

  3. Laura

    I’ve found almost every Apple Juice from concentrate uses concentrate from China. I discovered this the other night when checking the expiration on a bottle of MOTT’S for Tots. I’ve checked other bottles of MOTT’S and they now say China on them. Juicy Juice doesn’t say on their labels at all, but Nestle (when emailed) gave a vague list on countries of origin by listing the continents their juice “may” come from.

    I did find that Sam’s Club brand only said USA (although the Walmart brand had USA/Argentina/China on it) and Kirkland brand (Costco store brand) said made with 100% American Apples (which I still find a bit vague since “American” can mean anything from North, South or Central America and still be ‘truthful’).

    I find it very discouraging because we can’t know what pesiticides are being used… and given china’s recent scandals in adding melamine to pet food and baby formula, I just don’t trust that their ingredients for food products are safe.

    This is also an issue for fruit cups!

  4. PATRICIA JOHNSON

    :O So mush Info :O ?This is a great blog? :D

  5. Sally'

    Try Flordias Natural. It not apple juice but it is made and packaged in the USA. I have had enough of imported products!

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  7. Keith

    Try kedem apple juice….says all apples are from usa

  8. Tanya

    This is truely the only brand i have found that is 100% american…

    http://www.martinellis.com/

  9. Evelyn Keene

    Mott’s label is deceptive as are many others. They say their apple juice is made with apples grown in the USA. Their website acknowledges that they add concentrate made in other countries including China, where pesticides containing arsenic are still widely used. They also add water which may contain flouride and lead. Martinelli’s brand seems to be the least offensive that I have found so far.

  10. Kristine

    Martinelli’s apple juice and cider are 100% pure juice from U.S. grown fresh apples, not from concentrate, with no additives of any kind. It is also pasteurized. This is the only apple juice I have found that claims this. It costs more than other juices but I want to know what my child is drinking.

  11. Rachael

    I have been buying Indian Summer Apple Juice for my daughter. It says all the apples are grown in Michigan. I hope that I am not being decieved, but I feel better knowing it was made here in the USA. Trying to find good wholesome food with no crazy additives in our childrens food is soo expensive and time consuming in the grocery store. Espcially in small towns in the Midwest.

  12. Sarah

    Thank you for all of this amazing information! So good to know and so helpful when researching online to come across this blog. I am angered by all the deception in our foods and how much we have to fight to get good quality food.

  13. Mark

    Julie, I totally understand where you are coming from. We try very hard to get juice made from US Apples (for safety reasons) for our children.

    First, I think the solution for you in New York may be easier than you think. Tree Top Apple juice is still made from 100% US apples. So is Martinellis. Tree top is very comparable to Mott’s. Indian Summer used to be made from 100% US Apples, but that changed recently. I am also not sure about Mott’s “All Natural” anymore.

    I would also like to clarify my safety concern. I agree that overseas standards for pesticides is not up to US standards. But, I think the problem is much greater and more insidious when it comes to Chinese apples. China has very lax environmental standards. They also have manufacturing plants with the dirtiest smokestack emissions you can imagine everywhere – even in the middle of their largest cities. The country is literally covered in a “film” of smokestack dust everywhere. This dust is “rich” in heavy metals and in particular arsenic, lead and mercury. The rain in China falls on this dust, dissolves it, and all these toxins are taken in by the roots of the apple trees and concentrated (dramatically) in the apples. It is these heavy metals – particularly arsenic – which pose the greatest (and most insidious) danger to our children.

    The problem with Arsenic got a lot of attention in the fall of 2011 when the “Doctor Oz” show found elevated levels of Arsenic in many popular brands of apple juice. Subsequently the Empire State Consumer Project found that apple juice from Chinese concentrate was found to have levels of arsenic twice the acceptable levels – including apple juice from Mott’s.

    So, I think it is noble to try and buy apple juice made from US Apples to support our neighbors. But, it that is not your “kick”, than please don’t buy apple juice from China because it probably has arsenic levels too high to be safe.

  14. Rebecca

    Hi all. I have been reading apple juice labels ever since my son was born in 2008. I was apalled at the fact that our trusted juice companies like Gerber, Motts, Juicy Juice are using apples from China. I buy juice only when it says USA Only. Brands I have purchased in the past::

    Indian Summer, Great Value, Our Family, Meijier.

    Couple of things to note.
    1. Check the store brand. There will usually be the cheaper one and then the more expensive one that is USA Only.

    2. Beware of Indian Summer…. in the past 2-3 months their bottles now say Argentina so likely they are no longer USA only.

    I also understand that Martenelli’s is a USA only brand.

    Currently buying Meijer, Our Fanily and Great Value brands marked USA ONLY.

  15. Roberta Bronwyn

    I am so relieved to find this blog. I am elderly, and do not have children, but I myself do not want to drink apple juice from China with arsenic and heaven knows what else in it. And after losing 3 cats to kidney failure after feeding them cat food contaminated with toxins from China back in 2007, I scrupulously read all labels. I have been perplexed lately that I cannot find apple juice with 100% USA apples.

    I thought Motts Natural juick was being truthful when they said apples grown in the USA, and now here I read they add ingredients from China too. Doesn’t really matter tho, since I cannot any longer find it on the shelves where I live. So my search goes on.

    I was thinking I was all alone in my search for USA apple juice, and am glad to find I am not the only person on this quest.
    I will look for the 2 brands listed above, Martinelli’s and Tree Top, but so far I have never seen those brands in my stores.
    So, thank you for your recommendations.

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About this blog
Parents’ Place is a hangout for openly discussing the A’s to Z’s of raising a child in the Lower Hudson Valley. From deciding when to stop using a binky to when to let your teenager take driving lessons, Parents’ Place is here to let us all vent, share, and most of all, learn from each other.
Leading the conversation are Julie Moran Alterio, a business reporter and mom of a toddler, Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, a reporter and single father with joint custody of a 9-year-old son, and Len Maniace, a reporter and father of two sons.


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About the authors
Julie Moran AlterioJulie Moran AlterioJulie Moran Alterio, her husband and baby girl — “Pumpkin” — share their Northern Westchester home with three iPods and more colorful plastic toys than seems necessary to entertain one tiny human. READ MORE
Jorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-GibbonJorge Fitz-Gibbon has been a journalist for more than 20 years and a father for nine. READ MORE
Jane LernerJane LernerJane Lerner covers health and hospitals for The Journal News in Rockland, where she lives with her husband and two children. READ MORE
Len Maniace.jpgLen ManiaceLen Maniace is a reporter and father of two sons. READ MORE



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