An unnamed juice company recently contacted the Food and Drug Administration to let them know that it detected low levels of a fungicide called carbendazim in the company’s own orange juice as well as competitors’ orange juice. The fungicide isn’t currently allowed to be used on citrus in the United States, but it is used in Brazil, which exports orange juice to the US. FDA officials show little concern, but claim they will increase testing to ensure no problems arise from contamination.
FDA Claims to Start Testing for Carbendazim, A Currently Illegal Fungicide Found in Orange Juice
According to an FDA spokesperson, the juice company’s testing found up to 35 parts per billion (PPB) of the fungicide in the juice. Although there is no established maximum residue level for the carbendazim in orange in the U.S., the amount found is far below the European Union’s maximum residue level of 200 PPB.
FDA official Nega Beru says the orange juice will start being tested for carbendazim at the border and will not allow any orange juice in the country if even a small amount is found. Any amount found in food is currently illegal, and he says that the industry should ensure that suppliers in Brazil as well as other nations exporting orange juice do not use the fungicide.
Unfortunately the FDA’s financially-influenced view on what should and shouldn’t be allowed shows that the likelihood of the problem being taken care of is dismal. Despite orange juice being completely artificial, the FDA still allows companies to not only deem it as healthy, but also claim it to be 100% juice. The sad truth, however, is that most orange juice is is not at all 100% juice and it artificially flavored to taste like oranges.
Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.
Orange juice aside, has the FDA successfully taken care of other contaminants or toxins found in food and beverages? A past study set up by Dr. Oz concluded that many apple juice brands contain high amounts of arsenic, but the FDA wasn’t impressed and even argued with the study’s findings. Similarly, a different report also showed dangerous levels of arsenic and lead in apple juice and grape juice. Finally, and more alarmingly, toxic metals arsenic and cadmium were found in baby food.
Will the FDA follow through with their claim to take care of the carbendazim found in orange juice? Only time will tell, but odds are against them.