WASHINGTON — The U.S Food and Drug Administration has found that 11 samples (representing 11 shipments) of imported orange juice or orange juice concentrate have tested positive for carbendazim, a fungicide that is not legal for use on oranges in the U.S.
Six of the positive-testing shipments came from Canada and five came from Brazil.
The 11 shipments will be withheld from distribution in the United States. Testing positive means the sample contained 10 parts per billion or more of carbendazim, enough to pose a safety concern, the agency said in a statement.
The FDA began detaining imports of orange juice and concentrate at the border for testing earlier this month after a juice company notified the agency that small amounts of the fungicide had been found in orange juice made by the company and, separately, in juice made by one of its competitors. FDA then soon began also to test samples at domestic processing plants.
Out of 80 shipments of orange juice and orange juice concentrate tested at ports and at domestic sites, so far, besides the 11 positives, 29 samples have tested negative for carbendazim, and the remaining samples are currently under analysis. Of the 29 negative-testing samples, 14 were shipments from Mexico, seven from Canada, two from Costa Rica, two from Brazil, and one each from Belize, Honduras, Lebanon and Turkey. As of now, 15 of those 29 shipments have been released into distribution.
Testing of samples from domestic manufacturers remains in process at agency labs, the FDA pointed out in a statement. Results will be posted next week. The agency has said it will publish an update on results weekly.