Federal regulators testing imported orange juice for an illegal fungicide have stopped 144 shipments and found 30 shipments that tested positive.
All 30 shipments were detained or refused, the Food and Drug Administration said. Nearly half the shipments were from Brazil, the world’s largest orange producer.
The FDA began testing imports for carbendazim, a fungicide illegal in the U.S., on Jan. 4, after Coca-Cola found traces of carbendazim in its orange juice.
Any shipments that have more than 10 parts per billion of carbendazim, used to protect orange groves from black spot fungus, have been refused.
Carbendazim concentration levels below 80 ppb are not considered a health threat, the FDA said. But thefungicide is not approved for use on oranges in the U.S.
The fungicide is commonly used in Brazil, where 14 of the seized shipments originated. Brazilian growers havecommitted to ending their use of carbendazim.
An additional 12 out of the 30 shipments were from Canada, two were from Costa Rica and one each came from the Dominican Republic and Poland.
The FDA tested liquid juice, concentrate and powdered orange juice. Out of the 144 shipments, 103 tested negative. There are 11 shipmentsamples pending.
The tests may take four to five days to more than a week. Importers whose shipments fail the tests must destroy them or export them within 90 days.
Imported and domestic juices are often mixed to produce drinks sold and distributed within the U.S. The FDA is not considering a recall of any U.S. products.