FDA: Fungicide Is in Your OJ

An anonymous juice company alerted agency to problem
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2012 11:28 AM CST
Updated Jan 10, 2012 11:36 AM CST
FDA: Fungicide Is in Your OJ
Breakfast of champions?   (?Biscarotte)

Nothing says "good morning!" quite like some fungicide in your OJ. Fungicide? That's what's in there, as per the FDA itself. In a letter sent to the entire juice industry yesterday, the FDA revealed that an anonymous juice company last month detected low levels of carbendazim in its juice—and that of its competitors. Carbendazim is, you guessed it, a fungicide, which is used to control fungi or fungal spores in agriculture.

This particular fungicide isn't currently approved for use on citrus in the US, meaning any trace of it found in our food is illegal. The AP reports that it is used in Brazil, which ships OJ here; the FDA plans to test shipments at the border. The residue levels discovered by the unnamed juice company are low: topping out at about 35 parts per billion (the US has no max level of carbendazim, but the EU's is set at 200 parts per billion). And because the FDA doesn't consider such a figure harmful, all juice currently on shelves will stay there. "If the agency identifies orange juice with carbendazim at levels that present a public health risk, it will alert the public and take the necessary action to ensure that the product is removed from the market," says an FDA official. (Unfortunately, you may not want to swap out your OJ for apple juice...)

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