While the discovery of low levels of a fungicide in Orange juice shipped from Brazil to the U.S. has sent futures of the commodity to record highs, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro says the finding reinforces the need for better inspections of imported foods.
The fungicide found is called carbendazim, which is used legally in Brazil to ward off the growth of fungi in agricultural products but is not approved for use in the U.S. The levels found do not present a health hazard, officials maintain, and therefore the juice will continue to flow onto shelves.
Whether the surge in orange juice futures -- brought on out of concern that the U.S. could ban Brazilian imports of the product -- would have an impact on prices at stores remains to be seen, Reuters reports.
DeLauro’s office says more than half of the orange juice imported into the U.S. comes from Brazil. Orange juice from the South American country may be in Minute Maid and Tropicana products, according to Reuters. The back label on a bottle of Tropicana reveals that the product contains juice from the U.S. and Brazil.
There appears to already be some fallout, based on feedback on Tropicana’s Facebook page. Several people commented on a link on the wall that they would no longer be buying Tropicana and instead would be switching to the all USA-grown Florida’s Natural.
Meanwhile, DeLauro issued a statement responding to the news. She says:
“Maintaining the safety of our food supply is a paramount concern, especially when the food is imported from countries with different standards of safety. I am very pleased that the FDA has moved to better inspect the foods being imported into our country, but it is clear that we must do more.”
“The FDA must hold all of the food entering the U.S. accountable to our high standards of food safety. To do this, we must fully fund the FDA and ensure it has the tools and resources it needs to fulfill their responsibility of protecting the American public.”