Mar 12, 2013
Is Tropicana More Mehudar?

Many believe that Tropicana Orange Juice is more mehudar for Pesach than the juice squeezed at home, the OK Kosher says.

Kosher Spirit magazine

For Tropicana Products Inc., a division of PepsiCo, kosher for Passover production has a bit of a back-to-the future feeling – even though Tropicana founder Anthony T. Rossi wasn't Jewish.

Maybe that's because Rossi, an Italian immigrant, founded Tropicana in Florida in 1947, with a focus on bringing high quality, not-from-concentrate, 100 percent orange juice to breakfast tables nationwide, starting with the Northeast. Rossi brought to his work a strong commitment to food safety and quality control; and an enduring personal religious commitment.

When Tropicana began producing the country's most popular orange juice, Tropicana Pure Premium not-from-concentrate, under kosher for Passover certification, more than 20 years ago, it was a business decision that was consistent with its founder's long-time approach.

It also built on the company's established track record for manufacturing Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice under a pareve designation and the supervision of OK Kosher Certification (OK), year around.

Today, after working closely with the OK over the years, Tropicana's kosher for Passover production has expanded both in the markets it ships to, as well as in the number of kosher for Passover products that Tropicana offers U.S. consumers.

Preparing for Pesach

For 2013, Tropicana, a PepsiCo brand, is producing 14 distinct kosher for Passover products, or SKUs (stock-keeping units) – almost triple the five kosher for Passover SKUs that it produced just a year earlier. While kosher for Passover Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice was originally only distributed in the Northeast, Tropicana now distributes kosher for Passover products nationally.

Tropicana's new 2013 kosher for Passover offerings include Tropicana Pure Premium with Calcium; Tropicana Pure Premium with different levels of pulp; packaging sized from the flagship 59 oz. size up to 89 ounces; and kosher for Passover products in recyclable PET packaging. Graphics on the 59 oz. carton and on the PET 59 oz., 64 oz. and 89 oz. packaging will reflect the kosher for Passover nature of the products.

"For Passover, every kosher home is scrubbed clean and sparkles like new. This is what we do at Tropicana, as well," said OK Senior Rabbinic Coordinator, Rabbi Dovid A. Steigman.

"There is new packaging that is only used for Passover, newly cleaned machines and fresh bins for oranges. This is an expensive undertaking, but the cost is not passed on to the customer. At Tropicana, this is their way of giving back to the kosher consumer – providing premium kosher for Passover orange juice, produced under the highest standards, at no additional cost."

While Tropicana does not release current production details for competitive reasons, the company disclosed that 2009 kosher for Passover production at the Bradenton facility alone accounted for approximately 8.6 million cartons, 1.1 million cases, and 4.4 million gallons of orange juice. Tropicana also produces kosher for Passover production at its nearby Fort Pierce facility with both plants producing around the clock to meet increasing consumer demand.

"Tropicana has been making delicious orange juice for more than 60 years – and we're really proud to bring consumers fresh tasting, high-quality 100 percent pure Florida orange juice all year long. Providing kosher juices for Passover is just another way that Tropicana tries to provide for our consumers' needs," said Mike Haycock, Tropicana vice president of operations.

Preparing for Production

A lot of work takes place before the production and packaging lines are cleaned and koshered and production begins.

Special requirements for kosher production include an annual meeting, as well as quarterly inspections by the OK to ensure compliance with all requirements for manufacturing kosher products. These visits include an inspection of the facility, segregated storage of kosher material components, kosher ingredients, inspection of the packaging lines and a review of sanitation requirements, or kosherization, prior to manufacturing kosher products.

Kosher for Passover production, includes its own strict requirements for material components and kosher ingredients. All packaging components must have special Hebrew markings to designate them for Passover production and all ingredients must be produced under rabbinical supervision and certified kosher for Passover prior to use.

"Tropicana's Bradenton facility is the largest U.S.-owned, citrus-processing plant in the country and everyone here is aware of our year-round kosher certification and our kosher for Passover certification, and has a part in making sure these responsibilities are fulfilled," said Malcolm Cofer, a member of Tropicana's quality assurance team, who manages kosher and kosher for Passover manufacturing at the Bradenton facility.

During the annual meeting, an OK rabbi also reviews Tropicana's purchasing, receiving, and production processes. He also discusses ingredient and product submittal processes, and confirms that the data on the OK system correctly reflects Tropicana's data. For its part, Tropicana ensures that plant personnel in those departments are available for explanations and questions from the rabbi, if needed.

To facilitate this meeting, Tropicana also has documentation available for a range of production functions including receiving, tracking of production and cleaning procedures. As part of the annual meeting, Tropicana also comes prepared to compare its list of all certified kosher products manufactured against the list of products that the rabbi provides.

In addition to the very thorough training that anyone at the Bradenton facility gets based on what their job is, Tropicana managers and hourly employees also get additional guidance on kosher and kosher for Passover production, explained Lillian Elliott, who heads up the Tropicana's quality assurance program at Bradenton.

"Carol Haverty, our liaison at Tropicana's corporate office, is always on top of all the kosher requirements and data needed by the OK," added Estee Butman, Tropicana's account representative at the OK.

"Carol obtains kosher certificates, communicates with us in a timely manner, always submits new formulas through our Digital Kosher website – and is a pleasure to work with. She also has a thorough understanding of kosher and the certification process and regularly trains Tropicana employees in the basics of kosher at the annual Juice University program."

Inspecting For Compliance

Just as there are government inspectors on the premises testing for quality every day at Tropicana's production facilities, an OK rabbi conducts frequent, unannounced random inspections – both day and night – during kosher for Passover production.

Malcolm Cofer's approach is straightforward. "It's an honor for us to help ensure that kosher for Passover food is easily accessible because we understand how important this core practice is to the community. We do not compromise when it comes to quality or kosher standards," said Cofer.

"For our part, we make sure that we are using the right components, the right packaging and that we follow the OK's record-keeping and other procedures to the letter because we care about this work and doing it right.

"The OK rabbi is great to work with. He conducts regular and spot inspections, as well as audits to make sure that we are following the kosherization procedures precisely. We have an excellent working relationship. If there are any questions or concerns, we discuss them in a very direct and candid way," said Cofer.

Rabbi Steigman, in turn, has high praise for both Cofer and Tropicana's commitment to proper kosher production, both year-round and for Passover.

"Malcolm Cofer and his team are a real asset to Tropicana and its kosher program. While Cofer is the lead, there is an entire team of passionate workers at Tropicana who are committed to kosher and the importance of kosher protocols," said Steigman.

"It is such a pleasure to work with an organization like Tropicana that demonstrates this kind of dedication, leadership and respect for the kosher program."

More Mehudar?

Many believe that OK Kosher for Passover Tropicana Orange Juice is more mehudar for Pesach than making their own. Here are three reasons why:

• At home, the juice can come into contact with the orange peel, but at Tropicana no juice comes into contact with the peels.

• Oranges bought by consumers are coated with a waxy substance to improve the appearance, which may contain kitniyos, chometz or even casein (a dairy derivative). This is not a real problem year round, but on Pesach we try to be extra careful. Tropicana buys oranges straight from the growers and they are not coated at all.

• All Tropicana kosher for Passover production is done before Pesach so any chashash is botul before Passover. If one juices at home during the holiday with produce that was purchased during Passover, this may not be the case.

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
isnt food only botul if it is cooked?
(3/12/2013 8:08:04 PM)
Really? What About The Taste Packets They Add?
Check out this article:
(3/12/2013 8:23:08 PM)
Missing the Point
Drink Tropicana, gezunterheit.

But something seems to be missing here. The Mashehu of chometz (or kitnios) is removed by our extra diligence and care - not by simply pulling it off the shelf.

Just one person's opinion.
(3/12/2013 8:27:39 PM)
more mehudar?
Tropicana is kosher for Pesach but no industrial product is as mehudar as what you make in your own home.
(3/12/2013 8:44:21 PM)
Very Interesting, and definitely something to think about,
Nevertheless it is known that as Chasiddishe homes generally try not to use as much as possible foods made outside the home,,,, etc,,,,

However, note to be said,,,
Munite Maid has also been a major production company of "Pure Premium Orange Juice"
The Certification was for many years "Triangle K"
just this year it changed to OU.
Personally I think Tropicana has a better tasting juice, but... thats for each persona taste to decide.

additionally. the Mango, Raspberry, Lemonade, apple, are all OU. the Tropicana has on its Regular label in Hebrew... KOSHER FOR PASSOVER.
whereas Minute Maid, had a green sticker over the top of the Cap, in english and hebrew,,,KOSHER FOR PASSOVER,
such as a freshness seal,,

interesting indeed
(3/12/2013 8:53:33 PM)
Does this ok rabbi drink it at home and serve it his family at the Seder
(3/12/2013 9:05:15 PM)
Kosher for Passover and causes cancer too!
From an article in the daily mail:

Scientists claim fruit juice contains so much sugar it actually increases the risk of certain cancers, rather than preventing them.

In fact, by the time the drink has been processed and packaged, many of the ingredients in fruit that protect against tu
(3/12/2013 9:48:54 PM)
More reasons
I agree that it's probably better (but we'll still squeeze our cause that's just what we do) but here are some more reasons.

Tropicana ONLY has oranges in the production process, when you get your oranges they are from a store that may have other products there, they go into your car - that was full of crumbs before your 10 year old vacuumed it out. Then it goes into your house with people walking in and out of Chumetz rooms with a little brush off before going into the pesach area..etc. etc. you get the point
(3/12/2013 10:19:35 PM)
to our Rabbonim
I would like to hear from our Rabbonim if they feel this is true that it is more mehudar? Can our Rabbonim respond to this for the community's sake. The waxy coating sounds problematic??
(3/12/2013 10:24:29 PM)
The whole Pesach hidurim is way out of control. Unfortunately we are at a place where using your sechel in this regard is verbotten. Let's be realistic, we do not love in Russia anymore, so sugar is not stored in grain sacks and we don't have chometz coming down our faucet.

If it makes you feel good to put cheesecloth over your faucet and boil your sugar, do it, but don't call it a hidur. When was the last time you found anything in your bag of sugar???

Likewise with the orange juice. I am not implying we should eat anything, just that we use our sechel. For some reason no one has the backbone to say things have changed and we can change a little too. It's like we're stuck in 19th century Russia.

(3/13/2013 12:04:47 AM)
advertising gimmick
Ok wants people to buy items with their hashgocho.
(3/13/2013 12:52:27 AM)
Hiddur or Chumra? - Common Misconception
There is a great difference between a hiddur and a chumra:

a chumra means: when something's halachik status is in question (whether because of a disagreement between the poskim or just because he's not sure on the facts how it is made etc.) and one could al pi din be leinient in such a case and nevertheless he is machmir.

a Hiddur however refers to beutifying the mitzvah whether it be in a physicall manner (as with an Esrog) or wheter it means doing the mitzvah with more feeling and/or effort.

Chassidim always placed a stronger emphasis on the hiddur rather than on the chumrois. (even though pesach a strong emphasis was placed on chumrois as well)

to conclude with regard to this article and some comments: it MAY BE correct to say that using tropicana orange juice is a greater chumra (from a strictly halachik perspecptive)

but it is certainly inappropriate to say that it is more mehudar because hiddur has little to do with halachick rules instead it has to do with how much love, care, energy, (and money) one invests in the mitzvah.

therefore #4 is correct
and to #10 the answer is yes, we do call that a hiddur and it doesnt matter when the last time i found a halachik concern was.

also lets not forget the Famous posuk which is also brought as a HALOCHO "Al Titosh Toiras Imecho"
(3/13/2013 2:44:22 AM)
And the orange oil or other citrus oil added for flavor but don't have to appear on the label? The separated pulp cells that are put back into the juice?
I have no question it is 100% kosher for Pesach, but please, don't lead Yidden astray and say it is more mehudar than making it yourself in your own kitchen.
(3/13/2013 3:02:07 AM)
For many years I was under the impression that it is the Minhag of Chabad to buy only the minimun manufactured products. in the last few days oil( for the potatoe kugel) now orange juice also over the years I have notice people are buying chocolate, crisps etc. It would be a good idea if the Rabbonim advice the chabad families what we can buy and what we can not buy for Peasach.
(3/13/2013 4:55:31 AM)
pesach misht men nisht
the minhag is that "peisach misht men nisht", one doesn't eat on peisch in someone else s home, and for sure not from a product food. thus we try to make everything ourselves regardless of how careful etc. the company is.
(3/13/2013 8:44:11 AM)
dont want to drink it ? dont stop saying nonsence
thank you #3
(3/13/2013 10:10:50 AM)
Last paragraph is NOT from Kosher Spirit/OK
The last piece of this article, entitled "Mor Mehudar?" is NOT from Kosher Spirit magazine or the OK. Please make that clearer, you're making it seem that the OK is endorsing that stance, which may not be true.
(3/13/2013 12:23:18 PM)
Products on Pesach
I heard the Rebbe used to eat chocolate on pesach (a "product"). It was the one with the horse on the package. I very prominent Rov in Los Angeles (non-chabad) pointed out that in all likelihood the OJ from Tropicana has a lesser chance of being chometz than home squeezed due to the reasons mentioned above. Of course the problem for the average lubavitch family that goes crazy every year is that once they bring in OJ, then it will be chocolate, then oil until chas v'sholom they end up eating at someone else's house!
(3/13/2013 12:48:41 PM)
Why is using Tropicana OJ any worse that using manufactured wine or Matzos. There are more Shailos on Matzos than any other product even with the CH-k endorsement.
(3/13/2013 2:10:52 PM)
artificial sweeteners and coloring
a few months ago, there was an article that tropicana has been using artificial sweeteners and coloring for their juice. is this going into the kasher l'pesach juice as well?
(because then it's not "just oranges")
(3/14/2013 9:07:43 PM)
to number 18
Don't make fun :)
everyone on pesach has their mishigassin, and nothing really makes sense... these are minhagim...
minhag yisroel ktorah hu (or is it "hi")
(3/14/2013 9:10:15 PM)
meant to write "'k'din"
(3/14/2013 9:11:17 PM)
Each to his own
I drink coke you squeeze your own oranges. My choice, your choice. Nothing is wrong with either!
(3/14/2013 10:11:18 PM)
okay, so tropicana is kosher l'pesach. Woopee do da day! Nothing beats home, though, so why call it more mehudar?
(3/17/2013 1:29:52 AM)
To #1
(3/17/2013 3:10:14 AM)
regardin the last thing
that the aricle says, about juicing oranges in ur house might not be botul, ur not allowed to juice on chol hamoed.
(3/19/2013 3:00:16 PM)
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