Brazilian orange juice sounds like something that Whole Foods could sell for $8 an ounce, but it’s actually just pesticide-laden OJ—or at least that’s the worry of the FDA. They’ve halted all orange juice imports (from Brazil and elsewhere) and is testing them for carpendazim, a prohibited fungicide that was found in orange juice from Brazil last month. It promises to destroy or halt the import of any products that contain the pesticide, which causes liver tumors in animals.
Initial test results are due this week, but until then, the FDA is enforcing a “test and hold” policy on all imports, not just from Brazil, and will be setting the benchmark at 80 parts per billion (they say below that, there aren’t any health effects). Trace amounts of pesticides may not seem like a big deal, but given that Americans drank 1.2 million gallons from the 2009-2010 season, it’s easy to see how our intake could add up.
A spokesperson for Coca Cola, the owner of Minute Maid brand products, told the LA Times he’s not too worried:
Brazilian orange juice is safe and always has been. Second, this is an issue that impacts every company that produces products in the U.S. containing orange juice from Brazil.
That might be true, but until the FDA has cleared all imports for safety, we’re most likely going to be stuck with ridiculous orange juice prices; maybe it’s time to branch out and finally try that green juice for once.
Photo: The Kitchn