The Associated Press announced that the FDA has confirmed the presence of an illegal fungicide in domestic orange juice samples, but that the juice remains safe to drink. “The FDA said that nine of 14 samples taken from large holding tanks of juice in Florida tested positive at up to 36 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency has said studies show no risks of consuming the chemical at up to 80 parts per billion and true levels of danger are probably thousands of times higher.”

The use of carbendazim is illegal in the U.S., but “the juice tested was mixed with product from Brazil, where the fungicide carbendazim is used” to combat mold on orange trees. “Though the EPA says the juice is safe, the FDA is still detaining any orange juice imports that contain the chemical at more than 10 parts per billion, which is the lowest detectable level. The agency has detained almost a quarter of 86 orange juice shipments at the border since the first of the year, hoping to phase the carbendazim out of the U.S. supply.”

“The government started testing for the chemical after Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, which owns juice brands Minute Maid and Simply Orange, reported finding the chemical in its own juice and in competing juices late last year. Most orange juice products made by Coke and other companies contain a blend of juice from different sources, including Brazil, which is the world’s
largest orange producer.”