By Jeanne Yacoubou, MS
VRG Research Director
The VRG received a question in February 2013 from a supermarket which asked if gelatin derived from the bones and hides of cows, pigs or fish was used to clarify (fine or make clear) apple juice. We contacted several companies for an answer. They all said “no gelatin.”
A customer service representative at Apple & Eve told us by phone that “no gelatin or anything from animals is used at all in clarification.” A representative at Mott’s Apple Juice informed us that “no animal substance including gelatin is ever used in clarification…we use ultrafiltration techniques with ceramic membrane cartridges.”
Juicy Juice stated through a live chat that “Our product is a 100% juice product; therefore there is no gelatin in our product.” Another Juicy Juice consumer response representative replied to us by email with further information:
We use a variety of filters as well as thermo processing… During the filtration process, Juicy Juice does employ enzymes to clarify our juice. However, all enzymes are extracted from bacteria and do not contain animal byproducts.
The VRG found a 2004 article from the Indian Journal of Biotechnology that stated mostly fungal polygalacturonases (pectinolytic enzymes that break down the cloudiness-stabilizing pectins in the juice) are used today in industrial processes for juice clarification. The article described on page 573 the preparation of the fungal growth medium used in the experiments as containing a small amount of casein hydrosylate (a dairy ingredient): http://nopr.niscair.res.in/bitstream/123456789/5903/1/IJBT%203%284%29%20573-576.pdf
It is not known how common dairy ingredients are in the preparation of microbial enzymes used in juice clarification.
More information on the types and uses of enzymes in fruit juice production may be found here: http://www.enzymes.co.uk/fruit-juices.php
Additional information about the juice clarification process may be found in a 2007 article published in Latin American Applied Research: http://www.scielo.org.ar/pdf/laar/v37n4/v37n4a06.pdf According to this article, fining (clarifying) agents
modify clarity, color, flavor and/or stability of juices. They are grouped according to their general nature in (i) Earths (bentonite, kaolin); (ii) Proteins (gelatin, isinglass, casein, albumen); (iii) Polysaccharides (agars); (iv) Carbons; (v) Synthetic polymers (PVPP, nylon); (vi) Silicon dioxide (kieselsols); and (vii) Others, including metal chelators, enzymes, etc.
Readers may be interested in a related VRG blog post on gelatin used in some UK beverages: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2012/02/15/beta-carotene-in-us-beverages-not-stabilized-with-gelatin-unlike-some-products-in-the-uk/
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including the Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements. Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.