The Food and Drug Administration has detained orange juice shipments from Canada after the shipments tested positive for carbendazim, a banned and toxic pesticide just recently found in Brazilian juice.
The FDA announced earlier this month that it would begin testing foreign orange juice shipments for the presence of carbendazim before allowing them to enter the country.
Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid and Simply Orange, initially reported finding the carbendazim last month in imported Brazilian juice and reported it to the FDA, whose agency — until now — has never tested for carbendazim in imported or domestic orange juice.
On Friday, the agency said that among 80 shipments from around the world it tested so far, six from Canada and five from Brazil had tested positive.
But Fox News previously reported that the Food and Drug Administration said 19 of the 45 samples it had taken since testing began on January 4 were safe, and the remainder were “pending analysis and/or are under compliance review.”
CNN reports the samples that have tested positive so far had carbendazim levels of between 10 and 52 parts per billion, deemed save by the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard of under 80 parts per billion level of carbendazim.
Brazil accounted for roughly 56% of all U.S. orange juice imports in 2010, shipping over 171 million gallons to the U.S. Canada. Siobhan DeLancey, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said it is “hard to tell” when the current testing process will conclude. “It really all depends on what comes in and what we find,” she said.
Toxicologist Dr. Gary Ginsberg noted there is little point in regulating bad actor pesticides in consumer countries like the US when you do nothing to stop the manufacture and sale of these chemicals elsewhere.
“This creates the ‘circle of poison’ in which banned chemicals can circle the globe end up in our diet anyway since they are readily available in producer countries which have lax regulation.”