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Vitamin C & Pasteurization

April 13, 2011

A listener asks if pasteurizing orange juice destroys its vitamin C.



Does heat kill vitamin C? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Orange juice and vitamin C go hand in hand. Listener Chris Powell of Lansford, PA asks why then, is orange juice pasteurized? Doesn’t the heat of pasteurization destroy the vitamin C? We asked Michael Cashtok, consumer safety officer at the Food and Drug Administration. He says vitamin C is pretty tough and very little is lost during pasteurization. The nutrition label on the juice shows how much vitamin C is there. As to why juices are pasteurized, he says juices can harbor infectious agents like salmonella and e. coli.

MICHAEL CASHTOK (Food and Drug Administration):

There have been outbreaks, especially within the last 20 years or so. About 10 years ago, FDA instituted new juice safety rules that require that juice either be pasteurized or treated by some equivalent treatment.


I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.