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FDA Targets Orange Juice for Fungicide Testing

By Admin on January 13, 2012 3:01 AM

The FDA is targeting orange juice for fungicide testing. Officials say that they received notice from a juice company that it detected low-levels of carbendazim in its juice.

The company also said it detected levels in a competitor's product.

Fungicide is used on produce to kill fungi and fungal spores. Carbendazim is not approved in the U.S., according to the AP. It is, however, used abroad including in Brazil. Brazil exports juice to the states.

The EU has regulated fungicide. The maximum level is 200 parts per billion. The detected amount in the U.S. juice was 35 parts per billion, well below EU standards. The U.S. currently does not have standards.

FDA official Nega Beru says that the agency does not believe that the amount of residue is harmful. It will not be asking stores to take their products off their shelves.

But, the agency will begin testing orange juice at the border. Orange juice found with the fungicide will be confiscated.

Beru says that the agency will definitely notify consumers if the fungicide levels are high enough to present a public health risk. The agency will then remove the offending products.

Carbendazim is a possible carcinogen. It could disrupt hormone systems. It could also interfere with cell division and cause mutations. The WHO says risks are only high if individuals are exposed to high levels.

The EPA approved carbendazim for oranges in Florida between 2002 and 2008. A company needs to apply to the EPA in order to have carbendazim on its citrus. No companies have done so. This means any orange juice with the fungicide is technically illegal, Reuters reports.

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