The Food and Drug Administration blocked more shipments of orange juice from entering the U.S. and found traces of an illegal fungicide in domestic juice.
However, although the FDA will maintain its blockade against imports with the fungicide carbendazim, it plans no recall or action against domestic juice products. Nine out of 14 samples of orange juice concentrate taken from large holding tanks in Florida contained from 13 to 36 parts per billion of carbendazim, the FDA said.
The concentrate was made with domestic oranges and concentrate imported from Brazil, where carbendazim is widely used by orange growers, the agency said. The agency is testing liquid juice, concentrate and powdered orange juice products at U.S. ports of entry.
“At this time, the agency does not believe there is a need to continue testing for carbendazim in orange juice products already in the U.S.,” the FDA said.
Since it first blocked orange juice imports prior to testing in early January, the FDA has found traces of carbendazim in 20 out of 86 international shipments. That’s almost double the number reported Jan. 27.
Those 20 shipments — 11 from Brazil and nine from Canada — were detained, and must be re-exported or destroyed. Forty-six shipments tested negative.
Tests on another 20 samples are pending, the agency said Thursday. The Environmental Protection Agency said carbendazim is not harmful in concentrations less than 80 ppb. But the fungicide is not approved for use in the U.S.
Carbendazim is used in Brazil and other countries to fight black spot mold that leaves unsightly blemishes on oranges. Brazil is the world’s largest orange producer.