What is in this article?:
- Impact of FDA orange juice import ban uncertain
- Tolerance level
- On Jan. 11, the FDA announced it was temporarily halting all imports of foreign orange juice over fears some foreign orange juice, especially juice imported from Brazil, contains traces of carbendazim, a fungicide banned in the United States.
“I don’t know that we will ever see a day when super-trace amounts are not detected in imported fruits, so I think FDA will eventually come to terms with it and an agreement will be reached setting reasonable tolerance levels,” he adds.
Texas AgriLife Extension program specialist Monte Nesbitt in College Station agrees.
“Fungicides are used in many trees and in processing plants to control potentially dangerous micro organisms,” he says. Proper use can be an effective way to ensure food safety while improper levels could prove to be a health risk. “The term fungicide sounds troubling to many, but it is a fact of production and post-harvest handling of food products, and I think the current FDA development will be a short term issue. It may cause a spike in prices, however, as processors scramble to find juice as a result.”
Experts seem to agree the bigger issue may be consumer response to the ban. If consumers react negatively and demand for orange juice should fall, prices for both imported and U.S. grown citrus could be adversely affected. If “savvy consumers” boycott only imported orange juice and fresh fruit, then the demand for U.S. citrus may see a healthy spike, a positive development for U.S. growers.
“But the real winner could turn out to be the U.S. organic grower as consumers attempt to avoid chemical treatment of commercial citrus altogether,” says Anciso. “It could be a good time to be in the organic orange business.”