My neighbor, Dan Crofut, helps to run his family’s business, Good Flow Juice Co., which has sold fresh, hand-squeezed juice to Austin-area residents and businesses for the last 25 years. Almost every Saturday morning, my son William and I walk down to our local coffee shop, Caffé Medici, to get some muffins and Good Flow orange juice. But we won’t be able to do that anymore. At least not for a while.
Last Friday, a federal judge ordered the company to stop production immediately. The reason? Because Good Flow sells unpasteurized juice, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has decided that this constitutes an unacceptable danger to the public. Good Flow had been operating under an FDA waiver as a “juice bar” that allowed them to sell unpasteurized juice. But it has not been able to extend the waiver, so the judge took action.
Good Flow’s owners say they hand squeeze their juice to keep out the “peel oil and rinds that you get with the big machines.” They don’t pasteurize because that process breaks down vitamins and destroys good bacteria. This approach has created a strong consumer base in Austin-a town well known for its alternative culture. Consumers here don’t seem to mind the risks. As Joshua Bingaman of Progress Coffee said, “There’s a warning label-you have the option to drink it or not-that it’s not pasteurized juice.”
But Progress Coffee, Caffé Medici, and Austin residents no longer have that option. The government has made the choice for them. I stopped by Caffé Medici on the way to work this morning and, sure enough, they didn’t have Good Flow juice. Or any juice at all. They have yet to identify a new vendor for juice products that will fit their needs. When asked about the situation, one of the staff behind the coffee bar noted, “Government keeps getting bigger, and people keep getting smaller.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
– Bill Peacock