UPDATE: Since yesterday afternoon, the FDA has lowered the alarm level somewhat. FDA officials clarified their announcement by saying that there is no cause to reckon that the trace levels of fungicide in the OJ supply constitute a health threat at this age, and that the testing regime is borne outside of extreme caution rather than knowledge of present danger.
Also, the FDA announced that it had started clearing some orange juice shipments, including some from Canada, for entrance into U.S. borders. Mostly that raises the inquiry, who knew you could grow oranges in Canada?
Meanwhile, aliment safety officials from abroad have started reacting to the American go. EU officials said they would capture a fresh gaze at their orange juice importation polices following week, however noted that they were unlikely to constitute drastic changes. Australian orange juice importers, on the other palm, said that they had no plans to stop importing Brazilian juice.
EARLIER: The FDA announced Wednesday that it would temporarily halt all imports of foreign orange juice. The blockade was prompted by fears that some foreign orange juice — exceptionally juice imported from Brazil — contains traces of carbendazim, a fungicide banned in the United States. The import ban is locate to at the end until the FDA has finished conducting a thorough investigation of fungicide levels.
The news of the OJ import ban comes just one day after it was revealed that the FDA would ramp up testing for the illegal additive.
Once that news broke, though, many in the orange juice market started to dread that an import ban was at palm. As a result, prices for OJ futures briefly spiked to an all-age high of $2.07 per pound. Today’s trading brought that value down to $1.88 as speculators started to reckon that fears of FDA action had been overblown. Today’s late-breaking news of the import ban likely portends another heavy day of trading tomorrow.
Carbendazim was banned relatively recently; it was used to kill black fungus on Florida oranges as recently as 2008. It is still legal in Brazil, however, and the EU allows foods to contain up to 200 parts per billion of the fungicide. However studies linking carbendazim to increased rates of cancers and infertility prompted an outright ban of its employ on American oranges.
The FDA has said that it will go forward on measures to capture tainted orange juice off supermarket shelves if its testing uncovers unsafe levels of carbendazim.
The overwhelming majority of orange juice consumed in the United States is produced from domestic oranges, though most of the imported juice comes from Brazil. To find outside where your favorite brand gets its oranges, glance at the HuffPost Kitchen Daily guide to OJ.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user paulswansen.