What is Pectin doing in my food?
Pectin is a naturally occurring substance (or a polysaccharide) found in berries, apples and other fruit. In case you are wondering what a polysaccharide is, it’s a carbohydrate (such as a starch, cellulose, or glycogen) whose molecules consist of a number of sugar molecules bonded together.
When Pectin is heated together with sugar it causes a thickening or jelling of the food. Commercial pectin comes from apple pulp and citrus pith, which is the white part of the citrus between the fruit and the skin. Pectin is common in jellies, jams, candies, and other foods which require a jell or thickening for the end product.
Is there a concern with Pectin in my food?
Pectin itself isn’t a concern but where the pectin comes from might be. Since commercial pectin comes from apples and orange crops the pectin in your food could include any pesticides, or genetically modified substances from the plant or used in the growth of the plant. Currently, there are GMO (genetically modified) apples available on the market. Plus according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) testing from 2016, both conventional apples and oranges have several different kinds of pesticide residue found on them.
The only way you’ll know if the pectin is organic and doesn’t include GMO or pesticide residue is if you know the source or the pectin itself is marked USDA Certified Organic. But here’s another issue with pectin – it cannot be USDA Certified Organic because Pectin isn’t considered an agricultural ingredient.
How the USDA defines pectin for Organic labeling.
Pectin isn’t considered to be an agricultural product because according to the USDA, “pectin that is removed from, separated from, or has been reduced to a fraction of an originally agricultural product. The once agricultural product is now considered to non-agricultural due to manipulation or processing that caused the ingredient to become unrecognizable in its new form.” In other words, the USDA doesn’t consider pectin to be an agricultural product needing a USDA Organic Certification.
Hmm, something to think about. Does pectin from GMO and pesticide sprayed apples and oranges contain GMO issues and pesticides? In my mind, there is no way to know.
And in case you are thinking it – No, not all ingredients in a USDA Certified product have to be USDA Organic Certified.
Now you know why pectin is in your food. You decide if you want food with pectin or not.