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FDA Releases More on OJ Import Testing

Orange juice shipments testing negative for fungicide carbendazim are being released into the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday as the agency announced more detail on the agency’s testing program.

As of Jan 12, three samples tested negative for carbendazim, a chemical not approved domestically but used widely abroad to combat mold on fruit. The agency said 31 samples total have been collected and 28 are still pending analysis. The FDA said results will be updated each Friday at fda.gov.

In late December, Coca Cola alerted FDA that it had detected low levels of carbendazim in both the company’s own juice, as well as in samples taken from a competitor’s orange juice and juice concentrate imported from Brazil. Coca Cola sells orange juice under the brands Minute Maid and Simply Orange, but did not specify which brands had tested positive for traces of the fungicide.

In a letter sent to juice processors last week, FDA said that while it is not concerned about the safety of the orange juice and is not requesting a recall, the agency will refuse orange juice products containing carbendazim at 10 parts per billion (ppb) or greater. The testing program began January 4.

The EPA has concluded that carbendazim at levels below 80 ppb in orange juice does not pose a risk to public health.

“Based on the low levels reported and the EPA’s preliminary risk assessment, FDA has determined that requiring a recall or the destruction of orange juice products already in the country is not warranted,” the agency said Friday.

The latest information from FDA on carbendazim in orange juice is available here

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