Orange Juice Fungicide Called Carbendazim Detected Raises Concern

Orange Juice FungicideA fungicide that has been banned in the United States was found in Orange Juice according to the FDA. The fungicide called carbendazim was found after an unnamed company reported it had found low levels of the chemical in its own imports of Brazil orange juice, the FDA said in a letter addressed to the Juice Products Association.

The FDA does say that they will not pull any orange juice from store shelves at this moment because the detected funicide, carbendazim hasn’t raised any safety concerns.

In a report on January 9, 2012 a letter from the FDA noted that carbendazim has not been approved in the U.S., nor has a tolerance been established for the chemical in orange juice. The fungicide is approved in other countries, including Brazil, where the oranges used in the tested orange juice were grown.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that it will investigate the use of carbendazim on orange trees in Brazil, which supplies about 25 percent of the juice consumed in the U.S. Florida is the second-biggest producer.

“There might be concerns in some consumers’ minds about there being chemicals within the juice. I think that could almost counter-balance the increase in futures prices and subsequent returns to Florida growers,” stated Ray Royce, executive director of the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association in central Florida.

Orange juice will continue to be tested and the FDA will alert the public if there is a potential of harmful levels of the carbendazim in orange juice products and will remove it from shelves if that times comes.

The FDA also plans to test imported orange juice and deny any shipments that contain the fungicide, carbendazim.

Any disruption of imports from Brazil would affect juice makers such as Tropicana, owned by PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), and Minute Maid, from Coca Cola (NYSE:KO), which may use a mix of juices sourced from Brazil and the United States, reported Reuters.

“We can’t do without Brazilian orange juice. The largest processors in the U.S. all have a Brazilian blend,” said James Cordier, president of Tampa, Florida-based Liberty Trading Group.

Fungicide is a chemical used to destroy fungi or fungal, especially those that cause disease, in agriculture.

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