Federal regulators said Friday they found traces of an illegal fungicide in 11 out of 80 shipments of imported orange juice stopped at the U.S. border for testing.
The Food and Drug Administration detained nine of those shipments, and importers withdrew the two other orange juice shipments containing carbendazim. Six of the 11 shipments were from Canada and five were from Brazil, the FDA said.
The agency banned orange juice imports Jan. 4 after Coca-Cola found small amounts of carbendazim in beverages made with imported juice from Brazil. All orange juice imports — whether liquid, concentrate or in powdered form — are stopped at ports or border crossings and sampled for analysis in FDA labs.
The FDA refuses entry to shipments that contain more than 10 parts per billion of the fungicide, illegal in the U.S. but not considered dangerous in small amounts.
“FDA is confident that orange juice in the U.S. may be consumed without concerns about its safety due to the possible presence of such residues,” the agency said.
To date, 29 shipments tested negative for carbendazim, and 15 of those shipments were released. About 40 shipments are still in limbo pending test results.
The FDA also is testing domestic orange juice samples and will release results of those tests next week, the agency said in a statement.