Ensuring Quality Orange Juice in Schools

Nutrient-rich Florida orange juice provides health benefits to every lifestage. Drinking orange juice at school is a great opportunity for students to begin this healthy habit.

The improper selection, storage, and handling of orange juice may affect nutritional qualities and taste of this healthy beverage. Those responsible for acquiring and serving orange juice should understand the basic and proper selection and management of quality orange juice.

Choosing Quality Orange Juice

Follow these guidelines to ensure that the orange juice served in your school is of high nutrition, taste and matches what your students typically consume at home and expect in school.

Always procure Grade A juice as graded and scored by USDA's system of standards.

Choose a juice with a minimum score of 94 (based on the individual minimum component scoring of 37 for flavor, 20 for defects, and 37 for color).

You can ensure that Florida's students consume orange juice of the highest quality and nutrition to help support a healthy diet.

New USDA Juice Bid Specs

USDA raised the orange juice minimum Brix/Acid ratio specifications to 15.0 for child nutrition and related programs.  In addition to requesting 100 percent orange juice from your supplier, specify a minimum of 15.0 ratio for the best tasting juice for your students, along with the minimum 37 flavor score.

Store and Handle Orange juice Correctly

Follow these guidelines to ensure that high quality orange juice is served in your school.  It is important not to compromise the quality and flavor during transportation, storage and service.

  • Always keep orange juice at 40° F. or below. Orange juice should not be allowed to be 'temperature abused' (left out of refrigeration, on delivery docks or in unrefrigerated storage). Temperature abuse can occur quickly if juice is placed in the sun, even if the surrounding temperature is 30°- 40° F. Exposure to elevated temperatures can degrade high-quality flavor or result in the development of undesirable off-flavors. Returning the abused juice to refrigeration will not recover the lost qualities.
  • For frozen orange juice, juice should be kept below 26° F. until thawing. Thaw juice below 40° F. if possible (under refrigeration or on ice). Generally, the colder, the better. Do not re-freeze thawed juice.
  • When serving juice, keep the juice containers under refrigeration or on ice. Juice containers kept cold this way may be briefly returned to refrigerated storage and should retain their quality for a few days as long as thawed or re-refrigerated juices are consumed as soon as possible.
  • Discard any juice showing signs of significant flavor degradation or spoilage.