FDA finds low levels of fungicide in orange juice concentrate

Trace levels of the fungicide carbendazim were discovered in domestic orange juice samples, the Food and Drug Administration reported Thursday. But the FDA said the levels pose no safety risk, and the orange juice will not be recalled.

FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said that most of the samples taken were from concentrated products that will be blended down into the orange juice consumers drink, so the low levels of carbendazim will almost disappear.

“We didn’t have any evidence to indicate that the product on the market was any safety problem at all,” DeLancey said. “When we do a recall, there’s a safety issue.”

Officials targeted major orange juice manufactures in Florida who carried products from Brazil, where the fungicide is legal. None of the 20 samples taken showed a measurable level of carbendazim higher than 36 parts per billion. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has determined that carbendazim poses no health risks at up to 80 parts per billion.  

The announcement comes a week after the FDA seized 11 shipments of imported orange juice that had levels of carbendazim higher than 10 parts per billion – a violation of U.S. law, though the EPA says the amounts aren't harmful to consumers. The FDA said it has now detained a total of 20 imported juice shipments that tested positive for carbendazim. Samples from 20 additional imported shipments are still being tested.


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