January 12, 2012- The Food and Drug Administration has stopped imports of orange juice because of a fungicide scare. The FDA said it stopped the importing of all orange juice and would destroy any imported shipments if the unapproved fungicide is found.
In December, the FDA found trace amounts of carbendazim, a fungicide, in orange juice and orange juice products from Brazil. Brazil has approved the fungicide. The chemical is approved in the U.S. for use on apples as well as other products but has not been approved for use on oranges or other citrus.
Carbendazim helps combat black spot fungus, which makes fruits not as appealing visually but does not affect the crop’s yield or taste. Brazil supplies close to 16% of all the orange juice consumed in the U.S. according to figures in the industry.
The FDA increased testing for carbendazim, which has a link to a greater risk of tumors in the liver of animals. Any orange juice destined for retail consumption that tests higher than 80 parts per billion would be removed from the market by the FDA.
The FDA reported that testing had been done by the Environmental Protection Agency that said low-level consumption of carbendazim in orange juice does not create a health concern. However, if a higher level of the fungicide is found in orange juice it would be removed from the market for health risks.