FDA to sample imports of orange juice and deny entry to shipments adulterated with carbendazim

January 11, 2012.  The FDA announced today that it will begin sampling import shipments of orange juice and will deny entry to shipments
that test positive for carbendazim.

In a letter to industry, the FDA informed that it received information on December 28,2011, that low levels of carbendazim (in the low parts per billion range) was detected in currently marketed finished orange juice products, and orange juice concentrate.  The FDA traced the issue back to the 2011 crop of oranges from Brazil, where the carbendazim is a legally used fungicide to combat black spot, a type of mold that grows on orange trees.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said consumption of orange juice with the fungicide at the low levels that have been reported doesn’t raise safety concerns, the FDA has said it is testing orange juice on supermarket shelves and ports for the potentially harmful fungicide.  Agency spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said today that imported shipments of orange juice are being stopped at ports while the FDA conducts tests for carbendazim. Preliminary test results  for three shipments of orange juice from Canada, came back negative. The FDA is also simultaneously conducting inspections at supermarkets, focusing on U.S. brands agency officials believe contain a high percentage of juice from Brazilian fruit.  If any orange juice tests positive for a trace level of carbendazim—80 parts per billion or higher— the FDA “will take steps for its removal from the market”, said Ms. DeLancey.

For more information on compliance with admissible residue amounts of fungicides and/or pesticides, or other related FDA compliance issues, please contact Ann Marie Gaitan, Esq.