U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida introduced the Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act. The legislation would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower the required Brix level of not-from-concentrate pasteurized orange juice from 10.5% to 10%.
U.S. Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Stephanie Murphy, Kat Cammack, Daniel Webster, Maria Elvira Salazar, Darren Soto, Al Lawson, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Gregory Steube, Scott Franklin, Carlos Gimenez, Charlie Crist and Vern Buchanan, all from Florida, introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Forcing the orange juice industry to import and mix juice from foreign oranges to meet an arbitrary FDA standard would mean the end of Florida orange juice,” Rubio said. “This common-sense bill will provide relief to Florida citrus growers and processors who have faced challenges in recent years due to disease and hurricanes and allow them to continue marketing Florida orange juice.”
Scott said the proposed legislation “thoughtfully amends citrus standards, keeps healthy Florida orange juice on the shelves and supports the needs of our citrus growers.”
Following are some of the comments from U.S. Representatives:
Diaz Balart: “Lowering the minimum requirement of fruit sugar levels in Florida’s orange juice not only maintains the same quality it has always been known for, but it also ensures that our growers and processors have the flexibility to continue producing in Florida.”
Wasserman Shultz: “For most of last season, Florida oranges did not meet the federal minimum standard of 10.5 degrees Brix, a standard adopted decades ago.”
Webster: “This legislation is a common-sense solution for our citrus growers to continue to provide the best oranges and orange juice in the world.”
Salazar: “With recent challenges and changes in our natural environment, citrus farmers in our state need updated standards to continue growing and providing this delicious beverage.”
Soto: “By making this necessary change to the Brix standard, we are accommodating to the challenges of recent years and helping our growers maintain their livelihoods.”
Posey: “Every effort needs to be made to ensure that Florida citrus growers continue to have access to the markets, the opportunity to compete, and the ability to sell their world-class oranges.”
Rutherford: “Our bill would support growers by updating federal standards and allow for more Florida oranges to be processed into nutritious orange juice.”
Gimenez: “We must provide Florida’s growers and processors the necessary tools to continue orange juice production in our state.This legislation would do just that.”
Buchanan: “I’m pleased to introduce this legislation with Sen. Rubio to support our citrus growers, ensure their product stays on grocery store shelves nationwide and maintain the superior taste and quality of Florida orange juice.”
Cammack said Florida growers need help in “cutting through bureaucratic red tape to continue delivering the Florida orange juice we know and love.”
Learn more about the Brix issue this legislation would address.
Source: Sen. Marco Rubio
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