Rubio and Scott introduce Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott introduced the Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act. The legislation would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lower the required level of sugar/solids content (brix standard) in not-from-concentrate pasteurized orange juice from 10.5 percent weight of orange juice soluble solids to 10 percent.  
U.S. Representatives Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Gregory Steube (R-FL), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
“Forcing the orange juice industry to import and mix juice from foreign oranges to meet an arbitrary FDA standard would mean the end of Florida orange juice,” Rubio said. “This common sense bill will provide relief to Florida citrus growers and processors who have faced challenges in recent years due to disease and hurricanes, and allow them to continue marketing Florida orange juice.” 
“Florida’s citrus growers work incredibly hard to make sure American families can drink delicious, fresh from Florida orange juice,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, growers across our state have faced hardship in recent years due to crop disease and severe weather. I'm proud to join Senator Rubio to introduce legislation which thoughtfully amends citrus standards, keeps healthy Florida orange juice on the shelves and supports the needs of our citrus growers.”
“In recent years, Florida citrus has faced significant challenges such as pests, disease, and severe weather, which has had a devastating impact on Florida’s citrus growers and processors,” Diaz Balart said. “Lowering the minimum requirement of fruit sugar levels in Florida’s orange juice not only maintains the same quality it has always been known for, but it also ensures that our growers and processors have the flexibility to continue producing in Florida and not depend on foreign imports that will increase prices for consumers and threaten the very existence of the industry.”
“Florida grows the best oranges, but pests, diseases, and extreme weather are ravaging Florida’s citrus growers and processors. These conditions resulted in a natural decline in Brix levels in our mature oranges. For most of last season, Florida oranges did not meet the federal minimum standard of 10.5 degrees Brix, a standard adopted decades ago, at a time when climate change was mostly unknown,” Wasserman Schultz said. 

“Despite the natural changes to Brix levels, there are no known adverse health consequences for consumers. This bill would provide Florida citrus growers and processors with needed flexibility so that they can continue to produce the world’s best oranges—without sacrificing the quality and taste that we all love.” 
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