Are your juices certified organic?
To be certified organic you must meet all the requirements of a government approved organic certifying body – such as the Soil Association. However, each country has its own certifying bodies and they have different requirements. This means that it is just about impossible for a product to satisfy the requirements for all the countries in which it sells its products. Our total sales are still small but we do sell in several countries.
Currently, the Soil Association in Ireland and in the UK have refused to grant us organic status because our plants are grown hydroponically – in water not in soil.
Weird thing is that they do grant organic status to some big growers who grow sprouts unnaturally in big rotating drums – with no soil! Unnatural. It tumbles the seeds from time to time so that they don’t overheat and rot. Poor little sprouts get all confused about which way is up so instead of growing up straight towards the light they get curled up. Lot of stress on the plants, Must be some legal thing.
Meanwhile at VEGUS we do the best we can.
At VEGUS, we start with good non-GMO seeds. All our products are grown and packed absolutely with:
NO genetically modified material
NO unnatural chemical fertilizers
NO hidden additives
ONLY certified organic fertilizer
ONLY safe gentle natural cleaning agents for the equipment
LOTS of love and care
What about the enzymes?
We know that the enzymes are important to you so we take special care to ensure that we do not harm them as we make your juices. The plants get optimum nutrition, especially from the Ocean Grown fertiliser so that the plants have the best opportunity to do what they do best – convert light and water and fertiliser into nutrient dense bio-mass. When we squeeze and press the juice from the bio-mass we are careful to use a low speed unit so that the enzymes are not sheared and so that the juice is not heated.
Next we use a pharmaceutical grade system for putting your juice in the little tubes and sealing them.
Then to be sure that there are no pathogens such as e: coli or salmonella in your juice we subject it to a lot of isostatic ultra pressure. This kills the bugs without hurting the enzymes. Best of all it does the job without heating the juice. (Remember that heat kills enzymes).
Why plastic instead of glass?
Because a well respected German Research Institute made a study of packaging like this and concluded that these materials were equivalent environmentally to cardboard or glass bottles. They investigated not just the end of life disposal and recycling but also the origin of the materials used, the overall carbon footprint including transportation, etc. They then passed their study to the German Federal Government who agreed with the conclusions of the study. One of the horror stories uncovered was this: biodegradable plastics sound great. They get wet they the disappear! Problem for the recycling people is that one of the biggest uses of recycled plastic is in making builders plastic that is used as a vapour barrier in walls. Just one little bit of that biodegradable plastic in the vapour barrier and the vapour barrier disappears!!
Why not one big container instead of seven little ones?
Remember, we said that enzymes don’t like oxygen? Oxidation degrades the activity level of enzymes. If we used a nice big container we would save money but the juice would suffer. Every time you drank one serving you would be closing up the container with a fresh supply of air and as the tube gradually empties there would be more and more air. More and more oxidation too. So that as you go down the tube the quality of the juice would get worse and worse. So we use a small tube.
Why hydroponic instead of in soil?
If we were growing lettuce or tomatoes we might give in to an emotional pull to grow them in soil. But we are really processing seeds to the sprout stage and that’s a different world.
To get the full nutrient value from the plants we have to be sure that in their very short life span they get the optimum nutrition all day every day. Not too much, not too little, but the Goldilocks “just right”. In soil, that would be very difficult to manage but with the help of Ocean Grown fertiliser and a hydroponic system we can be sure that every single seed gets what it needs when it needs it.
By the way, to produce a perfect crop every time and do it on a reliable schedule in soil we would have to find a location that offers:
· a perfect climate – not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, not too dry, etc
· unpolluted water
· perfect soil that does not need amendment – and that never wears out or depletes
· regular hours of sunlight
· no animals to feast on the plants
If anyone can show us that place we will probably want to go there. Meanwhile, our enclosed environment chambers do all of that for us with a hydroponic system.
Why ship all the way from Ireland?
Because people in many countries want these juices and it is not practical to have farms scattered around the world. If we had a farm in Australia we would have to visit at least once a month to check on quality standards and all kinds of things. That would mean shipping Ariana or someone all the way to Australia at least once a month. The carbon footprint for shipping juice is less than that for sending Ariana. If we get to the point where that equation changes – lots and lots more Aussies ordering juices – then we will recalculate and maybe set up a farm in Australia. (or India, or South Africa, or Timbucktu or wherever).
Why ultra high pressure?
After we put the juices in the little tubes we put them into the pressure system and pump it up to ultra high pressure (Think of ten elephants standing on one strawberry.) This high pressure kills all the bad guys such as salmonella and e:coli but leaves the enzymes happy and smiling – and live!
But you don’t have to take our word for that. The survival of the enzyme is well documented and reported in peer reviewed scientific articles – such as:
Effects of high pressure on amylases and starch in wheat and barley flours
GOMES M. R. A; CLARK R; LEDWARD D. A. Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Reading.
Food Chemistry 1998, vol. 63, no3, pp. 363-372 (18 ref.)
And as regards harmful bacteria we have an independent laboratory test batches to confirm freedom from pathogens.
Why add lactic acid?
First of all is the matter of how much do we use. The answer is about 50 ml of lactic acid in every 20,0000 mls of juice. Not that much.
We add this drop or two of lactic acid to prevent growth of botulin spores that could cause illness. We like our juice safe.
Also to be noted is that there are two types of lactic acid. A slaughterhouse product which is not organic - we would never use anything like that! Our lactic acid is organic in origin and totally safe. (By the way, for those who wonder: lactic acid has nothing to do with milk or any other dairy products. The Vegus juices do not contain any milk products).
What is your telephone contact number?
Even though our products are sold in several countries and various languages we are just a small business. If we add them up we are operating in at least ten different times zones. The telephone could be ringing at just about any time of day or night – and would need answering in languages we don’t speak! So we concentrate on doing our jobs and carefully monitoring and replying to emails and we don’t publish a telephone number.
What does the Best Before date mean?
Because of the pressure treatment the juice is safe to drink for years. (We tested it at four years of age). We also protect the enzymes and other nutrient values but the passage of time will eventually have some impact on the juice. The little bit of air trapped in the pouch will cause some oxidation or browning of the juice. But this is limited by the very small amount of air in the pouch. (Even if there were no air space in the pouch there would be some in the juice itself - and we really don’t want to subject the juice to a de-aeration process (Ughh!)
The flavour can also change a bit over time, The chemistry of flavenoids is among the most complicated known to man. We could stabilise the taste for ever but the chemistry required to do that is appalling. We don’t want to go there. So, we say that for up to about 16 weeks the juice is good but that just like all living things it is not getting younger and some deterioration is inevitable. Please note that broccoli sprout juice is not very green to start with. The reason is that the plant itself is not very green. The roots and stem are white and only the tiny little leaves are green.
CHINA (PEOPLES REPUBLIC)