F.D.A. finds more carbendazim in imported O.J.

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has found low levels of the fungicide carbendazim in orange juice and orange juice concentrate being processed at domestic manufacturing facilities that were processing product imported from Brazil. The F.D.A. collected 14 samples from domestic orange juice processors in January and found carbendazim at levels ranging from 13 parts per billion (p.p.b.) to 36 p.p.b. in 9 samples.

An Environmental Protection Agency risk assessment has shown that any level of carbendazim in orange juice below 80 p.p.b. does not pose a health risk and the F.D.A. has said that no action is needed to remove product from the market.

To date, the F.D.A. has collected samples from 86 imported shipments of orange juice and orange juice concentrate. Forty-six samples have tested negative; 20 samples have tested positive; and the results of the other 20 samples are still pending. Of the 20 samples that tested positive, 9 were from Canada and 11 were from Brazil.

A statement issued by the Juice Products Association, Washington, said that carbendazim is a component of a fungicide that is registered with the E.P.A. for use on food crops in the United States, but not currently registered for use on citrus. A fungicide with carbendazim was registered for use on oranges from 2002 to 2008, but the manufacturer chose not to renew the registration for economic reasons.

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