Florida Citrus Mutual is attempting to protect growers in the event Florida oranges don’t meet the minimum Brix requirement for not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice. FCM recently sent a formal request to the FDA seeking enforcement discretion to protect growers from the likely contingency that Florida’s 2021-22 orange crop may not meet FDA’s minimum Brix requirement of 10.5° for pasteurized orange juice.
As with yield, Brix values have been in decline in recent years. Last season, Brix values for Florida’s orange crop were the lowest in 15 years, with the average hitting just at 10.5°, the lower limit for NFC.
When processors do not have higher Brix fruit for blending to meet the minimum NFC requirements, low Brix fruit is necessarily diverted into concentrate. In the end, this means that low Brix oranges create a financial burden for both growers and processors while also leading to higher prices for consumers.