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I refuse to get glass bottled orange juice any more even when it's on sale because it tastes bad to me.

It seems like every glass bottled orange juice I've ever had tastes bad compared to orange juice stored in plastic or cartons. Does the orange juice leach metals (like lead) from the glass? Does that make it taste bad?

Corollary question: if I'm right, and it leaches so much metal from the glass, why do they still sell it in glass?

  • Leaded glass containers for distributed foodstuffs have been illegal for so long they are worth money as antiques. If you want to decant something into leaded glass, you have to do it yourself (hence the wikipedia bit refers to "decanters", not "bottles" or "containers" -- no one ships/sells alcohol or anything else in leaded glass). – goldilocks Feb 12 '15 at 18:30
  • OK, I get that the bottles aren't "leaded" but they do have minerals in them other than quartz, right? thomasnet.com/articles/materials-handling/glass-bottles-made And they can be treated, according to this source, but are they? Who is testing this? Does anyone other than me care? Is anyone even aware? Am I stupid paranoid? – Aaron Hall Feb 12 '15 at 19:33
  • I don't think you're stupid or paranoid, just pointing out it won't be lead. Also, leaching is not unique to glass -- there are all kinds of nasty things that come out of plastic food containers (e.g., BPA). I think the deal with containers in the U.S. is the same as with cosmetics -- the onus is NOT on the manufacturer to prove it is safe, but on someone else to prove it isn't. Of course to do that you have to identify what's in it, which I doubt they are obliged to reveal to anyone. – goldilocks Feb 12 '15 at 19:45
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    I refuse to buy orange juice that wasn't stored in oranges, because to me it tastes bad. :) – Flimzy Feb 13 '15 at 4:51
  • Interesting studies show that color of packaging, or the color of the glass/bowl/plate you consume an edible in can effect the way you perceive the taste. No implications, but its something to consider. It could be as simple as the brand difference. They might possibly use different varieties of oranges, one might be concentrated, another might be fortified with vitamins/minerals. – tsturzl Feb 15 '15 at 21:05
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My guess is that limonin is responsible for the orange juice in the glass bottles not tasting as good as the carton juice. Limonin is a very bitter substance naturally arising from orange juice. Removing it is difficult and limited by patents. The Tropicana's of this world (which tend to sell in cartons) use centrifuges and these special beads to debitter the juice, but other companies resort to mixtures of Valencia juice (which doesn't produce juice that goes bitter after a few hours) with other less expensive cultivars that will add bitter notes.

The limonin develops a few hours after the juice is squeezed. So if the juice is fresh, it is the balance of sugar and acid in the fruit that has the biggest impact on its flavor. Also, commercial juice needs to be pasteurized, which add to the flattening of the flavor.

The soda-lime glass used for containers in the US and many other countries leach very little of their elements into a solution as acid as orange juice (recycled glass leaches more and glass with phosphates, less).

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