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Organic Tricalcium Phosphate From Trader Joe's?

I picked up a carton of organic orange juice from a Trader Joe’s grocery store yesterday. I wanted to get organic juice because I know how destructive non-organic agriculture can be.

There were two kinds of organic orange juice available. One had no pulp, which didn’t seem very healthy, given that the pulp in orange juice provides dietary fiber. So, I picked the alternative: Trader Joe’s organic orange juice “calcium added”.

trader joes orange juice with tricalcium phosphateWhen I opened up the juice back at home and had a glass, I was disappointed to discover that the calcium added juice didn’t have pulp either. My assumption that it would, because it wasn’t marked “no pulp”, was not well founded.

I started to consider more about how that carton of juice was marked. It was called organic, but the label said that calcium was added. Is that an organic practice, to add calcium to orange juice?

Looking on the label, I read the following ingredients: “Organic orange juice, Tricalcium phosphate”. Hold on. Stop the breakfast. The juice is marked organic, but the tricalcium phosphate isn’t marked organic. So, is the Trader Joe’s orange juice really organic?

Organic food is supposed to be free of synthetic (human created) chemical treatments. Tricalcium phosphate sounds like a synthetic chemical, but it isn’t necessarily. Tricalcium phosphate occurs in nature. It’s found in rocks in places like Morocco, and it’s also obtained from the bones of animals like cows and pigs.

I can’t find any information about where exactly the tricalcium phosphate in Trader Joe’s orange juice comes from, but if it comes from animal bones, that means that my juice wouldn’t be vegetarian, or at least not vegan. It’s not marked as organic tricalcium phosphate, and so I want to know whether the Trader Joe’s tricalcium phosphate comes from cows or pigs that were not organically reared. If that were to be the case, that orange juice would definitely not be organic.

However, if the tricalcium phosphate Trader Joe’s used came from the ground, well, I can’t find any reason to conclude that the mineral disqualifies the juice as organic, strictly speaking. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it would truly be beneficial for the health of those who drink it. Arsenic occurs as naturally as tricalcium phosphate, after all, and arsenic is not usually thought of as a health food.

I’ve got a little bone to pick with Trader Joe’s in terms of its labeling, though, saying that the orange juice has “calcium added”. It’s true that the calcium triphosphate has calcium in it, but it has other elements too: Oxygen and phosphorus. You don’t see the label reading “phosphorus added”, or “oxygen added”, but calcium triphosphate has more oxygen atoms in it that it has calcium atoms.

There’s a reason that Trader Joe’s just didn’t come right out and put “Tricalcium phosphate added” on the front of the orange juice package. They know tricalcium phosphate doesn’t sound like it fits with the ideal of organic food as easily as simple calcium does. It seems to be playing around the edges of what’s allowable within the definition of organic food.

Aesthetically, the Trader Joe’s organic orange juice with calcium added tastes like, well, like it has calcium added… At least, it tastes like it has something funny added to it. I can’t honestly say that I know what calcium – tricalcium phosphate – really tastes like. What I can say is that the orange juice tastes not quite right, and that’s the best reason of all for me to decide against buying any more in the future.

60 thoughts on “Organic Tricalcium Phosphate From Trader Joe's?”

  1. Kevin says:

    I think you are supposed to get usable calcium from spinach and kale.

    “RP Heaney and CM Weaver Creighton University, Omaha

    Absorption of calcium from intrinsically labeled kale was measured in 11 normal women and compared in these same subjects with absorption of calcium from labeled milk. The average test load was 300 mg. Fractional calcium absorption from kale averaged 0.409 +/- 0.101 (means +/- SD) and from milk, 0.321 +/- 0.089 (P less than 0.025). In contrast with the poor absorption previously reported for spinach calcium, kale, a low-oxalate vegetable, exhibits excellent absorbability for its calcium. ”

    now MAGNESIUM! there is a chemical to take, and you need a bit of calcium with it to process.

  2. Sarah says:

    Even if the tricalcium phosphate is not organic the juice could still be considered organic because legally only 95% of the product has to be certified organic in order to meet labeling laws standards. I have also found by calling company 800-numbers listed on the packaging (often in the store on my phone) you can find out almost every time if additives are vegan friendly or not.

  3. trina says:

    i think what we have here is something, made out of nothing. lets focus on the real issues in life please.

    1. Cameron says:

      Dangers of Tricalcium Phosphate?
      Tricalcium phosphate or phosphate salts are found in many foods as a flavor enhancer. Researchers believe there are dangers associated with ingesting phosphate salts over a period of time. It is reported in patients with elevated concentrations a correlation with heart disease and chronic renal failure. Researchers are calling for more in depth labeling on foods containing phosphate salts to allow the consumer to make a more educated decision when purchasing products containing these additives. These salts are found in foods as a preservative and they intensify flavors.

    2. Rebecca says:

      Well said!

    3. Mario says:

      Lol, if there are other things more important in life why then did you read the article and take the time to comment? Guess this falls under the category of “more important things in life”. Lol!

    4. Cindy Lou says:

      Exactly what I was thinking….Syrian refugees, Sudanese starving children, etc.

  4. faith says:

    First of all, tricalcium phosphate is a naturally occuring mineral that is found in bone matrix and necessary for bone calcification. It is also found in multivitamin supplements. You should be more concerned with the natural and artificial sweeteners added to juices that increase caloric value, but do not add nutritional value. You are right , Trina. There are more important issues in life than the chemistry of fruit juices.

    1. Hendrix says:

      Naturally occurring in multivitamins, eh?

  5. kipster says:

    @Trina, Drink
    your Koolaid and move along folks… nothing to see here.

  6. dr x says:

    calcium hardens the arteries.

  7. jdjdjdjjdjd says:

    several products have this, it is a anti caking agent generally used, you will find it in all kinds of bad chips, not sure why they would use it, it usually comes from bone dust. I personally don’t consume anything with these anti caking, or gum stuff in them. They are cutting corners by using it, trying to give it longer shelf life. I generally do not shop at Trader Joe’s anymore once I started picking apart a lot of their labels… a good deal of their branded items have phosphates, nitrates, carrageneaan, etc. etc. Better off sticking to a co-op market or whole foods, even if the price is higher. I hate having to check labels like that and trader joe’s carries a bunch of interesting items, but a lot of it has additives, isn’t exactly healthy, and their produce is not that good.

    1. Kosmic says:

      I have recently been watching: “The Truth About Cancer” a very informative and honest documentary re: what the hell is going on with our foods, drugs and etc. I am for labeling and I am discovering the great big cover up. Wake up people and find out whats in your food. Tri Calcium Phosphate may be naturally occurring as is natural gas, wouldn’t want to eat natural gas would you? Seems very difficult to get in contact with some of these companies and so because of that I find it suspicious and even though I may enjoy the taste of their products will discontinue buying them.

      1. Mario says:

        Bamm! Right on!

    2. Rebecca Lake says:

      At least Trader Joes products with a Trader Joes label are no-GMO. It’s a place to start and I buy organic with must be non-GMO as well. It’s true that a lot of their products have a lot of additives, like canola and soybean oil, and carrageenan but I’m certain that Whole Foods interesting items are also filled with bad additives. The trick is make the food at home. Buy organic ingredients and make the food at home. No additives. My family is also eating vegan and you totally stay away from nitrites if you eat no meat or dairy. Have you seen the movie “Cowspiracy” by Leonardo De Caprio? You will go vegan if you want to cut Global Warming in real time.

      1. David-John Jordan says:

        Hey Cowspiracy was amazing but unfortunately it wasn’t by Leo… Cowspiracy was an independent film made after Al Gore made his documentary about global warming, and completely ignored the fact the animal agriculture industry is the single biggest contributor to global warming. Leo did here comes the waves. I haven’t watched it yet but I do plan to. Watch earthlings that’s another great movie. Another fellow Vegan here 👍🏼.

        1. Sarah says:

          Leo is Before the Flood.

  8. jdjdjdjjdjd says:

    also, you should definitely be more concerned with what is in the food, and what kind of container it comes in vs if it is organic or conventional… there is plenty of quality conventional food that just isn’t certified…while there is organic stuff (as what you have found) with additives, nitrates, fillers, phosphates, or in cans that have BPA containing plastic leaching into the food, eden’s organic is the only one I know of that has non bpa lining cans, or what you are cooking on such as (teflon) …

    1. De says:

      Muir Glen, as of 2011 stopped using BPA in the lining of their tomato cans (but their soup cans still have it). Check the liner color – it it’s whitish, it has BPA. If it’s orange-colored, it’s BPA free. You can find a list of BPA free cans here: and this is a good article on BPA:

  9. Annette says:

    You sound like a bit of an misinformed person. Am afraid to use stronger language, don’t want to get cut.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Annette, your grammar isn’t very good, is it?

  10. Andrew says:

    Annette, your grammar isn’t very good, is it?

  11. Amy says:

    Whole Soy & Co. – Blueberry Organic Yogurt – sold at whole foods.
    – I just found the same ingredient in my yogurt. the reason I looked more closely at the ingredients is that it tastes aweful. I googled tricalcium phospate and found this blog. I couldn’t agree more that its deceptive. The packaging says certified vegan, and verified non-GMO. Non-the-less I threw it out after that first spoonful due to the unappetizing taste and the mere thought of the possibility of raod kill in my yogurt.

  12. mee mii says:

    this is an important issue. yes there are more important things in life than this issue. but hes not talking about other things..he talking about this. i dont care what law says it only has to be 95 percent organic or not. any one who care about their health would be rightly concerned about things like this. its really not organic if you add certain things, companies pass these products off on people who dont know what organic really is,obviously this caught his eye, rightly so….and if you want gmo pigs and cows fed gmo feed their whole life sickly and confined to their own fecies then drink up. if its natural occuring then there would be no reason not too put that info on the label. i think better companies carry a better standard and thats what you have to find, if not you gotta break out your own juicer and do it frresh which is delicious. still it sure would be nice to find a decent drink made well for when life gets busy which is always. meryy christmas happy new year.

  13. Lisa says:

    Doggone it…I’ve been trying to stay away from dairy since I’m allergic to it . I’ve had a hard time finding beverages without sugar or other additives. I grabbed some almond milk and it said contains: almonds. When I looked closer it also has dipotassium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate. I read recently that calcium supplements aren’t good for you, they’re absorbed differently than calcium in food. It seems that these are added to boost the calcium content and make it smoother but who knows how they’re absorbed. I guess it’s best to make your own and read the real small print. Eating a healthy diet isn’t a small issue, it can affect every aspect of your life!

  14. Baheejah Mateen says:

    As I was reading the ingredients on a label of Morton Salt Substitute one was Tricalcium Phosphate, so I looked it up, and what I would like to know being a Muslim and not eating pork, is there any way to know if it is pig or cow or whatever?

  15. The Truth says:

    Well it is interesting that you say “Bone to pick” As TCP Tricalcium Phosphate is derived from bone!. But seriously, I hate to say this but I have discovered that Trader Joes is a shady company, they frequently mix message labeling, like your TCP – this chemical is an inorganic substance (even thought it may be derived from bone because it is refined back to its original constuents), they leave out, key information, use clever marketing with adjacent products that are cheaper, and near the Organic version. Most of their products unless local are inferior and overpriced. A good example is their wines, like Costco they have special deals with companies; you’re familiar with a product elswhere -it looks the same at TJ but its not. TJ’s not worh it for me.

    1. Harvmil says:

      I rarely buy foodstuff at Trader Joes or Costco. Between those two companies they could sicken a fairly large complement of the population.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Buy your own oranges and squeeze. No worries.

    1. Harvmil says:

      I just saw on Doctor Oz that oranges are now being painted to give them a consistent color.
      Don’t trust the items in the outer isles either.

  17. Biologist says:

    Actually, be happy that it contains calcium phosphate. Your body need phosphorus just as much as it needs calcium. The ratio to keep the calcium in bone and not in arteries and other unwanted places, is about 1.6 calcium to 1 phosphorus on a molar basis. That is exactly what you get with TCP.
    Organic labeling requires 95% of the contents to be certified organic; TCP in the oj is less than 1%, so to say that you can taste it is probably your mind telling something that is not really possible.
    As Anonymous said, get your own oranges and squeeze. That way you know exactly what is in the glass.

  18. Annie says:

    Why shouldn’t calcium carbonate be used instead?

    1. Biologist says:

      Well, calcium carbonate is just as ‘inorganic’ and it’s also a whole lot more difficult for the body to absorb.

  19. Bill says:

    This discussion thread provides a compelling argument for why no one should be allowed out of school without a decent chemistry course under his belt.

    1. fwe says:

      My thoughts exactly, Bill.

  20. RJ Traylor says:

    Tricalcium phosphate is a product of dear old 3M.

  21. Alecia says:

    We drink fruit juices nearly every day of our life…how is this not important???

    I also have found this ingredient in my organic almond milk from whole foods. I’m very curious about this and other strange ingredients. I will continue researching. Thank you for your post.

  22. Katsmeow says:

    Drinking juice is just about as bad for you as drinking a soda — loaded with sugar, no fiber to offset it. Eat your fruits, don’t drink them.

  23. Angel says:

    Take it all seriously cos I consumed Tricalcium proshate. I consumed it everyday by popcorn salt and now I have cancer.

    1. Bill says:

      I brush my teeth three times a day, every day, and now my hair is turning white!

  24. AGREE says:

    Trader Joes was sold to a German company.
    They do private testing. That means no public access. They label as does FDA.
    I love Germans. Some. Not all. Not the bad ones. They seem to be either very, very good people, or ……BAD as in SSS.
    I no longer trust Trader Joes.
    Forcing and encouraging employees to lie, to say their food is all organic when 5% can be cancer causing…’s deceitful!
    I only buy according to labeling. If it says it’s organic coconut cream but only 95%…and some of the 5% is titanium dioxide (like is used in sunscreen and paint), and is a known cancer causing agent, I refuse to eat it or let my family eat it. It makes me VERY angry!

    1. Still Learning says:

      I had Titanium Dioxide poisoning form my Calcium supplements from GNC years ago. I had several IV chelations to bring it down. It was only used for white coloring. Did they want us to think white bones are healthy???? Eat organic foods, no sugar, little caffeine , avoid chemicals…our bodies are made to extract minerals from raw or slightly steamed vegetables…Peace 🙂

    2. David houle says:

      The USA laws are the reason 95% organic is concidred organic. If you don’t want calcium in your juice which has been a “gras ” and organic way to get calcium( the Vit. C in OJ helps assimilate the calcium) then don’t buy the one with calcium . They are simply giving you another choice.
      Be informed, I eat all organic, but they aren’t trying to be sneaky or nefarious , they’re making what people buy and want.

    3. Mario says:

      “Georgia Guide Stones”

  25. Masha says:

    I bought Whole Foods Almond Milk thinking it would compensate for regular milk on breakfast cereal. I’m allergic to milk. Read the label and found Tricalcium Phosphate as one of the ingredients. This is the last time I will be buying Whole Foods Almond Milk since I’m very much against ingesting chemicals which may ultimately be toxic.

  26. Fred says:

    Tricalcium phospate is a NATURAL product usually from rock, and verterbrate’s spines and teeth. It is NOT poison. It is natural. Repeat; natural. Just because you are not versed in looking deeper into understanding minerals which are a necessary part of daily living, doesn’t mean you should automatically assume a word you have never seen before is ‘bad’
    Let’s look at
    Sure, I agree SOME foods in US are ridiculously added to with crap ingredients like corn syrup, (who needs extra sweetening when something is already loaded with sugar?)

    Do yourself a favor and before you jump the gun, READ about science and facts!

    1. J Clifford says:

      Fred, uranium is natural. Poison ivy is natural.

      1. Mario says:


  27. Zak says:

    Well, the concept of an organic inorganic substance is hilarious. That would be like asking for organic sea salt. That’s not a thing. That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works. The attempted marketing of any salt as organic is entirely for label appeal towards people without an understanding of chemistry.

  28. nytrider says:

    A Calcium deficiency alone will cause 147 known diseases and, if you think you want to get yours naturally (1.5 – 2grams) a day, your going to have to drink 50 gallons of whole vitamin D enriched cows milk every day!
    And that still leaves 99 nutrients (minimum) to go!
    Quit arguing about it, and drink it! They added it to help save your dumb ass from living a miserable existence!
    You should be thanking them, instead of trying to ridicule them!

    Calcium deficiencies include:

    Ankylosing Spondylitis, Arthritis, Back Pain, Bells’ Palsy, Bone Spurs, Bone Fractures, Brittle Nails/Hair, Calcium
    Deposits, Cartilage Damage, Cognitive Impairment, Depression, Dowager’s Hump, Eczema, Elevated Blood Calcium, High/Low Blood Pressure, Hyperparathyroidism, Insomnia, Irritability, Joint Pain, Kidney Stones, Ligament Damage, Muscle Cramps/Spasms/Twitches, Nervousness, Osteofibrosis, Osteoporosis, Panic Attacks, PMS, Prolonged Clotting Time, Receding Gums, Restless Leg Syndrome, Retarded Growth, Sciatica, Spinal Stenosis, Tetany, Tinnitus, Tooth Decay, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Vertigo (just to name a few).

    Let’s look at Osteoporosis, the number 10 killer of adults in the United States. Remember, 75% of those over the age of 65 who fracture a hip or leg bone don’t live 90 days! Also, it’s the most horrible disease when it comes to human misery and dollars expended.
    Osteoporosis leads to special vans with lift gates, ramps and the elevators, the special plumbing in homes and public buildings. We also have special parking places, wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Think of the beds and the chairs with little electric motors to lift you up when you can’t stand up by yourself.
    Other major cost includes physical therapists, joint replacement surgery, pharmaceuticals, and doctor’s visits. We’re talking billions and billions of dollars for nothing more than a Ten cents (.10) a day calcium deficiency disease.
    Now as horrible a disease as Osteoporosis is in human beings; we don’t have Osteoporosis in animals because we don’t have Blue Cross, Blue Shield, major medical hospitalization, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for non-essential surgical treatments for mineral deficiency. Medical science has learned that giving calcium to animals after being weaned off their mother’s milk prevented arthritis or Osteoporosis from ever emerging. It’s amazing how that works.

    Brush up! Or, you are going to be paying for the lifestyle of some M.D. somewhere for the rest of your short life’s!

  29. Da Vi says:

    Minerals can’t be organic. Just like how you will never find an organic salt. Research needs to be done before articles are posted.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Actually, Da Vi, there are organic minerals. They are rare, but they exist. Please, before you go telling other people to do research, do some research yourself.

  30. Jan says:

    These responses have been very helpful. I was disturbed that almond milk, etc. had added calcium carbonate which is not absorbed well and collects in the arteries. Then I found almond milk with tricalcium phosphate (unlike calcium phosphate) and that appears to be a better choice. Only a few store sell it, including Trader Joes. I am going to try to get as much calcium from other foods and maybe at least one glass of milk (which is another thing we are warned is not good for us. It is hard to find something healthy to eat in any of the grocery stores. We are all being poisoned with toxic chemicals in our cosmetics, products and food supply! HELP.

    1. Mario says:

      Watch the Ted Turner interview with Charlie Rose on youtube.

  31. Alyssa says:

    Here’s the bottom line. The only way to completely avoid additives, GMO’s, chemicals, toxins, inorganically-lined and non-toxic packaging, etc, is to dig a hole, bury yourself in it and eat organic radishes for the rest of your life.

    Stay educated. Eat whole foods. Exercise. And maybe you will be that one guy who never dies. But probably not. Quit rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s still going down. #moderation

  32. Theresa says:

    Did it have the certified organic label on it? That’s how you know…

  33. Ainsley Jennings says:

    Yasssss thank you!! Ive been thinking this too because they claim to have “no artificals” yet there’s folic accid in half their stuff which is the synthetic form of folate and harmful to those with the mthfr gene mutation! Im not happy about this!

  34. Terri says:

    It is my understanding Monsanto now owns Whole Foods.

    1. J Clifford says:

      No. Amazon now owns Whole Foods.

  35. Anon says:

    Organic doesn’t mean animal free. Learn facts, not feelings.

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