ABC World News: Orange Juice May Contain A Dangerous Pesticide

Jan 10, 2012 – ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer reported on yet another Consumer Alert regarding juices being imported from other countries. First it was apple juice. Now it seems government inspectors are working tonight at the nation’s ports because a large amount of orange juice coming from overseas has been cited for traces of an unapproved chemical. And as a result the price of orange juice on the commodities markets soared.

ABC’s Lisa Stark reports it all began with a confidential call to the FDA.  An orange juice company (the FDA will not reveal the name), said it found in its juice and that of a competitor a pesticide used to kill fungus in the orange groves.  The pesticide called carbendazim, is not approved for use on citrus in the United States.  But it is being used in other parts of the world.

Lisa reported that the juice with the chemical in it was imported from Brazil.  So tonight the FDA is scrambling to test orange juice at the nation’s ports and processing plants.  So far the levels are low.  And there is no health hazard.  In animal studies, high levels of carbendazim has been linked to hormonal and reproductive problems.

Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food and Water Watch says not all of the orange juice that consumers drink in the United States comes from oranges grown here.  Just because the chemical is illegal here doesn’t mean that other countries don’t allow it to be used.  It just kind of opens up this whole line of questioning about what we don’t know about the way things are being produced in other countries!

Lisa Stark reports that in the case of orange juice about 26% of what we buy is imported from other countries like Brazil and Mexico.  It is mixed with juice ifrom America and the countries of origin are listed on the orange juice labels in fine print.

Foreign grown food is increasingly flooding our food supply. Lisa said that limes are now 100% imported.  So is 75% of our apple juice and asparagus and processed mushrooms.

ABC News saw firsthand the amount of produce pouring in at just one Mexico border crossing.  It is staggering. And the FDA police inspects only about 2%.  It’s mainly left up to other countries and importers to ensure that their food is safe.

The FDA is warning of orange juice companies to come up with a way to ensure that this pesticide does not show up in the orange juice here.  As of tonight the government says that the orange juice is safe to drink but it continues testing.

As Americans, what are our options? Since we very seldom can  find food with a USA origin anymore,  should we take more of an active role and insist on tighter government regulations? Should we seriously encourage and support the growth of our local famers.  Should we maybe take a more hands on approach and learn to cultivate a family backyard garden and get back to basics. Maybe a Little or All of the Above.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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