The United States has temporarily blocked orange juice imports from all countries, while it tests for low levels of a banned fungicide.
According to the Food And Drug Administration, if the chemical carbendazim is found a levels below trace amounts, it will be allowed through to be sold. It will ban or destroy orang juice containing higher levels.
The fungicide in question has been linked in research to a higher risk of liver tumors in animals. According to Bloomberg, it the chemical was discovered in trace amounts in products originating in Brazil, after The Coca Cola Co. notified the FDA that some growers in Brazil had sprayed trees with the chemical.
The company has said that this is an issue that affects all companies that source orange juice from Brazil. One in six servings of orange juice bought in the U.S. comes from Brazil, according to export industry association CitrusBR.
Unsurprisingly, calls have emerged for the FDA to set standards for chemicals, so screening can be more rigorous.
In response to the temporary ban on imports, the price of orange juice futures shot up 11% to an all-time high. It’s not yet clear whether the temporary halt will lead to higher prices for orange juice in U.S. Stores. It may depend on how long futures prices stay high, and if a ban causes any shortage in the market.
Image CC licensed by Steve Ryan