Update: Good Flow Honey & Juice Co

The Daily Texan – Austin juicery meets legal battle on pasteurization

The Daily Texan
Austin juicery meets legal battle on pasteurization

Mohini Madgavkar

Daily Texan Staff

Published: Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Updated: Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Austin-based juicery Good Flow Honey & Juice Co. has halted production after an order from the Food and Drug Administration shut down the company’s East Austin manufacturing center Friday.

Good Flow Honey & Juice Co. got its start more than 25 years ago, selling hand-squeezed juice and honey harvested from its own bees. The Crofut family, which started the business, made a name for itself with unorthodox flavors such as Spirulina and Pineapple-Beet and its claim for making “homemade juice.”

Unlike most commercial juicers, Good Flow does not use pasteurization, a process that uses heat to kill microorganisms in juice and other beverages, in production.

Good Flow co-founder Judy Crofut said the company asked the FDA for an exemption from pasteurization mandates placed upon commercial juice producers because the company produces and distributes locally and delivers its product within 24 hours. “We have all our own processes in place to ensure that it’s good, safe juice,” Crofut said. “Pasteurization kills everything, all the enzymes that allow you to digest your food, so that was a big interest of ours.”

Crofut said that in 2006, the FDA retracted the exemption that allowed Good Flow to operate as a juice bar that sells directly to its customers and therefore, avoid pasteurization.

After a lengthy legal battle that threatened to shut down Good Flow several times in the past two years, Crofut said a court order Friday has forced them to suspend juice production until the company can comply with FDA pasteurization standards.

Some businesses throughout Austin that carry Good Flow’s products, including Wheatsville Food Co-op, Whole Foods Market and the UT pharmacy, as well as restaurants such as Kerbey Lane Cafe, said the convenience of direct delivery from a local juice bar will be difficult to replace. The drinks are particularly popular with students, said Caffé Medici manager Patrick Pierce.

“Once school started up, we started blowing through Good Flow,” Pierce said. “We do about 30 [bottles] twice a week, so about 60 a week.”

Kerbey Lane Cafe employee Phillip Bachus said Good Flow’s processes appeal to Austinites.

“I think people really like that it’s local,” Bachus said. “It supports your community, and it’s a lot better to have a gallon of orange juice from two miles away than from five states.” But Bachus said he recognized that problems could be associated with unpasteurized juice.

“There’s never been one single issue ever with Good Flow with any kind of medical thing, but I know that we’ve never served it to kids,” Bachus said. Crofut said Good Flow will continue to sell honey until it can reopen the juice business. “We’re going to call the City of Austin and see what we have to do to open this place as a retail outlet,” Crofut said, adding that the company hopes to reopen on a larger scale in compliance with FDA regulations.