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Spain: Lack of information about orange and mandarin varieties

Linus Pauling, who received two Nobel Prize awards (for Chemistry and Peace), argued that consuming high doses of vitamin C was very convenient to prevent degenerative diseases. He in fact did so and founded an institution that bears his name (at the University of Oregon) dedicated to researching the beneficial role of vitamin C and other micronutrients.

When he was already 90 years old, he called a press conference which, in a certain way, was of a provocative nature, because in it he announced that he had a tumour in his colon. This begged the question. Didn't this wise man say that high intakes of vitamin C helped prevent cancer? To this he replied that, indeed, so it was, but in the end, it had appeared when he was 90 years old, not earlier, as was the case for many patients, and that he aimed to still live a few more years. He died on 19 August 1994. He had been born on 28 February 1901.

Pauling also argued that taking vitamin C in pharmaceutical preparations was not the same as consuming fresh fruit, especially citrus fruits, because in this way, you are actually taking cocktails of antioxidant substances (other vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids, minerals, fibre, etc.) that have an equally beneficial effect. Also fundamental was not to be limited to drinking orange juice, because that is the only way to ingest everything necessary, including the pulp. In any case, if you opt for a juice, it should be freshly made and the pulp shouldn't be separated. The juice should also be drunk as soon as possible, because once it is made, it begins to oxidise, which gives it a strange taste, in addition to losing a good part of its healthy properties.

In Spain, people are lucky to live surrounded by citrus groves, which can be found from Tarragona to Huelva, facilitating access to a truly local production, which is mostly exported. Spain is a world leader in the production and export of oranges and mandarins for fresh consumption and the Region of Valencia accounts for 60% of the country's total. Other countries outperform Spain in terms of production volume, such as Brazil, the US or China, but they mostly use the fruit to produce juice (Brazil and the US) or for self-consumption (China, whose imports from Spain are growing every year).

The great paradox is that in Spain, and especially in the Region of Valencia, there is very little knowledge about oranges, as well as lack of information for the consumer, and that is not something that the region's inhabitants can be blamed for. It has been a result of the producer-marketing sector not making an effort to teach about the different varieties the region has, as well as about their production schedules and the main characteristics and virtues of each one.

A testament to this is that oranges and mandarins are often referred to by their common names, when it is clear that there are worlds to discover when it comes to orange and mandarin varieties and sub-varieties. This information, of course, would allow consumers to identify them and ask for them at the store, knowing in advance what to expect from them and avoiding scams.


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