Although the amounts of the fungicide detected have been very small, the FDA will test the orange juice imports to ensure against new incidents of the detection of carbendazim, banned in the United States but used in other countries to prevent crop infestations.
The agency will test all the shipments of orange juice arriving in the United States, will destroy those that test positive but will permit the OJ to be sold if no traces of the prohibited pesticide are found, an FDA spokesperson told Efe.
The Environmental Protection Agency does not authorize the use of the chemical product on U.S.-grown oranges since studies with animals have linked carbendazim to a high risk for liver tumors.
The FDA says that carbendazim in orange juice is residue from an "illegal chemical pesticide," although according to preliminary EPA testing the low detected quantities found so far does not pose any risk for people who may have consumed it.
The detection of the fungicide was communicated to the FDA late last December by a company that markets orange juice, which detected it in concentrated products it and its competitors were selling.
Brazil is one of the main exporters of orange juice to the United States, while Brazilian authorities allow the use of the fungicide on fruits such as apples.
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