Fungicide Sparks Probe of Imported Orange Juice

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Before you drink your next glass of orange juice, you might want to check the label on the bottle or can.
    
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation into imported orange juice after a possibly dangerous chemical was discovered in some juice.

The chemical, carbendazim, is a pesticide used to kill fungus.  The FDA discovered the substance after being alerted by an orange juice company.

There's no clear health hazard to humans, but high levels of carbendazim have been linked to hormonal and reproductive problems in animals.

"Not all of the orange juice that American consumers drink comes from oranges that were grown in the U.S. The juice containing carbendazim came from Brazil," said Patty Loverna, associate director of Food and Water Watch.

The U.S. obtains 26 percent of its orange juice from other countries, such as Brazil and Mexico. The FDA only inspects about 2 percent of this food.

"It opens up a whole line of questioning about what we don't know about the way food is being produced in other countries," Loverna said.

The presence of carbendazim along with a cold snap in Florida is driving up the price of orange juice.

"Orange juice jumped due to the frigid weather that permanently damaged some of the crops here," Jim Garasz with Transworld Futures told Bloomberg on Tuesday.

"And there's more cold weather coming in here late tomorrow," he said. "That spooks the market."

The FDA said that so far the levels of the pesticide are low, and there's no health hazard to humans.  

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