After fungicide was discovered in orange juice products from Brazil, the Food and Drug Administration blocked orange juice product imports, so that it could test for the fungicide carbendazim, which studies have linked to a higher risk of liver tumors in animals.
The FDA reported today that of the 45 import samples the FDA has collected, 19 have thus far been found to be safe, and 12 of those have been released. The samples that passed FDA testing were from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico. The remaining 26 samples are pending analysis or are under compliance review.
The FDA said previously that for their current tests, if levels of carbendazim are greater than 10 parts per billion they will destroy the orange juice products or return them to the country of origin.
Although carbendazim is approved for use in other countries, in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has not approved it for use on oranges.
As for domestic sampling, the FDA has collected 14 samples and these are currently being processed at the government agency's labs.
About 11 percent of the orange juice consumed in the U.S. is from Brazil, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Fungicides are chemical compounds or biological organisms used to kill or inhibit fungi or fungal spores that can damage agriculture.
It was originally the Coca Cola Company, owner of the Minute Maid brand, that alerted the FDA that their orange juice and that of their competitors carried residues of the chemical. Coca Cola was legally required to come forward, under the 2008 Amendments to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act creating a Reportable Food Registry.
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