Acidity in Lemon Juice
The acidity of lemon juice is mainly because of citric and malic acids and other acids, if present, exist in very small amounts. There is also a relation between pH and the amount of acid and fruit size. When there is an increase in the amount of free acid in the juice then the pH of the juice decreases and if size of the fruit increases. The food industry often uses citric acid as a food additive to provide acidity and sour taste to foods and beverages.
Citric acid is naturally concentrated in citrus fruits. However, among fruits, citric acid is most concentrated in lemons and limes and according to a study (reference provided below) there is no difference between the juice of lemons and limes for citric acid content. Both lemon and lime juice, whether from fresh fruit or from juice concentrates, provide more citric acid per litre than ready-to-consume juices from grapefruit and orange and also from freshly squeezed orange juice.
Directions of FSSAI regarding min. percentage of acidity:
The FSSAI has issued directions dated 8 July 2021 regarding minimum percentage of acidity (expressed as citric acid) for “Lemon”.
In this regard the FSSAI has drawn reference to the Food Safety and Standards (Food products Standards and Additives) Regulations, 2011, wherein the minimum percentage (%) of acidity (expressed as citric acid) for “Lemon” is specified as 5.0 (Min) under the regulation 2.3.6 (4 Table) relating to Fruit Juices. The date of implementation of the said regulation is 1 July, 2021.
However, FSSAI has received representations from stakeholders stating that correction is required for editorial change in the Food Category 2.3.6 FRUIT JUICES, for “Lemon Juice” where the minimum percentage acidity (expressed as citric acid) should reflect as “minimum 3.5” instead of minimum 5” as the value “minimum 3.5” was approved by Food Authority in its 28th Meeting.
After due consideration, the FSSAI has decided to correct the said value to address the concerns of stakeholders and hence, the minimum % acidity (expressed as citric acid) for Lemon under the regulation 2.3.6 (4) shall read as “3.5 (min)” instead of “5.0 (Min)”