Scott Franklin, Debbie Wasserman Schultz lead push to change orange juice standards
Protecting Florida's iconic citrus treat — at all costs.

Florida orange juice China
The citrus industry has faced produce-changing challenges and needs a break, lawmakers say.

Forget the question about whether Florida is a purple or red state. It’s the orange that truly unifies political leaders.

U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, a Lakeland Republican, joined forces with U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Weston Democrat, to introduce the Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act.

The bill would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to alter the required ratio of sugar and solids in not-from-concentrate orange juice. Known as the Brix standard, the lawmakers want to cut the requirement from 10.5% orange juice soluble solids to a flat 10%.

Florida leaders say the change will offer lifeline to citrus growers savaged by citrus greening, hurricanes and trade practices many in the industry consider unfair.

“Our citrus growers have persevered through debilitating challenges, including last year’s disastrous hurricane season and ongoing issues such as citrus greening,” Franklin said.

“This Brix standard adjustment will provide much-needed relief while maintaining quality. I’m grateful to my Florida colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support so Florida citrus growers can continue their legacy of producing premium orange juice here in the USA.”

Franklin represents the agriculture-rich Florida Heartland.

Meanwhile, Wasserman Schultz represents a South Florida district that reaches into rural areas. She also serves as Democratic Co-Chair of the Florida congressional delegation. She said the citrus industry in Florida needs the adjustment in standards because of changes in the produce growing in the state.

“Pests, diseases and extreme weather are creating a natural decline in Brix levels in our mature Florida oranges, and this bill would provide our farmers and processors with the needed flexibility to keep producing the world’s best oranges — without sacrificing the high quality and taste we have all come to enjoy,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“Despite these natural changes in Brix levels, there are no known adverse consumer health consequences, and Florida’s growers and processors should not be further waylaid by this outdated, arbitrary measure. It’s tasty and nutritious orange juice that consumers want, and that’s what our Florida growers should be able to continue to produce for America’s breakfast tables. This bill will help do that.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Díaz-Balart, Byron Donalds, Carlos Giménez, Laurel Lee, Anna Paulina Luna, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, María Elvira Salazar, Greg Steube, Michael Waltz and Daniel Webster, as well as Democratic U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Jared Moskowitz and Darren Soto.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]

One comment

  • It’s bad

    March 25, 2023 at 12:42 am

    State has the most horrible orange juice I ever tasted.
    But what I expect from a place that’s as much of a mistake as the people lol

Comments are closed.


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