In Quito, the capital of Ecuador, it's not uncommon to see people selling fresh-pressed orange juice from informal stands set up on the street. Recently, they've even come to have their own hashtags in Quito's Twittersphere.
Why? On 4 May the city's health ministry released the results of an analysis of 35 samples of informal orange juice sales from around Quito. Their report found that “32% of these samples did not meet the standards for human consumption”.
The analysis showed the existence of enterobacteriaceae or other harmful microorganisms, and the ministry recommended that people avoid consuming the juice or assure that the vendor has taken the adequate sanitary measures before doing so.
Twitter users in Quito reacted to the news with humour. Some linked the news to Ecuador's other problems, boasted of their own robust health or simply declared their love of orange juice.
Compran el juguito de naranja al joven de la esquina y luego la sistalgina a la farmacia del vecino,reactivan la economía, todos felices.
— Cuco (@DonCuquito) May 3, 2016
Buy orange juice from the young guy on the corner and then medicine at the neighbourhood pharmacy, reactivate the economy, everyone's happy.
— Valeria Solorzano (@ValerySolorzano) May 4, 2016
Image: After I've survived:
- Ceviche from a bucket
– 25-cent merengues
– 5-cent ice blocks
– Norteño liquor with 220V energy drink
– Flavoured bootleg liquor
– Switch [ready-mixed alcoholic drink]
– Hard liquor with Nestea
– Seabass ceviche from the street
– How drunk I got on my birthday
They try to tell me a little orange juice will do me harm.
Tweet: I'm not falling for that story, orange juice rocks!
Yo me he mandado switch a mis 16 años, tomarme un juguito de naranja de la calle me va a hacer inmortal #JugoDeNaranja
— Carolina Granja (@carolina_XGR) May 4, 2016
I drank switch when I was 16, drinking street orange juice will make me immortal #OrangeJuice
Si sobreviví al Socialismo del siglo XXI, el juguito de naranja callejero es ameba….
— Jorge Peñafiel (@joranpece) May 4, 2016
If I survived 21st century socialism, street orange juice is an amoeba…
— Robert L. Gallegos J (@boblen1972) May 5, 2016
Image: I survived orange juice.
Tweet: An orange juice after a game of football is the best and if it's nice and cold even better
The hashtag #ISupportYouOrangeJuiceVendor was also used to post memes and various opinions on the issue. Some took aim at El Comercio, a newspaper that relayed the news of the health ministry's analysis:
— Darío Terán Pazmiño (@darioteran) May 3, 2016
Facebook post: It's up to all of us who live in Quito to decide if we pay attention to the tabloid media or not; just as it's up to informal vendors to adapt their small businesses to healthy conditions that are actually more appealing (the only option). In my case I drank an orange juice and nothing happened. In the middle of an economic recession and a national disaster there are those who wish to attack these enterprises without first complimenting them and even giving them ideas for improvement. Remember that when we buy orange juice we support families from Quito, families from the coast who plant and harvest the oranges, not to mention how good it is to substitute processed products with a natural one.
Tweet: You can witness its preparation yourself; the vendor prepares it right there #ISupportYouOranjeJuiceVendor
— Alvaro Avila Simpson (@alvaroavila3) May 3, 2016
Image: Support your orange juice vendor. Don't fall for it. Sugary drinks are more dangerous than street orange juice…
Tweet: LET'S GO ORANGE JUICE VENDORS!!!! #ISupportYouOrangeJuiceVendor
— Lucía de la Fuente (@luciadelafuente) May 4, 2016
I'm joining the campaign to defend #OrangeJuice in Ecuador!
News channel PublimetroTV talked to Quito residents about the issue, and most of those interviewed agreed that the hygiene conditions at orange juice stands are not the best. It should be mentioned, however, that they also confessed to never having tried orange juice purchased from a street vendor.