American-grown apple juice is hard to find
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 â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” and I almost can’t find juice made with U.S. apples, let alone local apples.
Finding the healthiest food for your child â€” that is, food with lots of nutrients but without harmful ingredients â€” 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?