Coke says it notified FDA of fungicide in orange juice

Coca-Cola Co. acknowledged on Thursday that it was the one that alerted the FDA about “low levels” of fungicide in orange juice from Coke and its competitors.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. notified federal regulators after it found low levels of the fungicide carbendazim in the company’s orange juice. Coke makes both Simply Orange and Minute Maid, but the company wouldn’t say which one, if not both, contained the fungicide.

The Wall Street Journal reports that use of the fungicide is common practice among Brazilian orange juice producers, raising concerns that “most” deliveries to the U.S. could contain trace amounts of carbendazim.

“This is an industry issue that affects every company that produces products in the U.S. using orange juice from Brazil,” said Coca-Cola spokesman Dan Schafer.

However, the FDA says it has no plans to remove any orange juice from store shelves, as the levels of fungicide found in the juice are not believed to be harmful. The Environmental Protection Agency echoed the FDA’s assessment, saying that there are no health concerns with the low levels of fungicide Coca-Cola found in its orange juice.

Still, the agency has put a halt on imported shipments of orange juice in order to test for levels of the fungicide that may be harmful to consumers.

“If the agency identifies orange juice with carbendazim at levels that present a public health risk, it will alert the public and take the necessary action to ensure that the product is removed from the market,” FDA official Nega Beru said in a letter to the Juice Products Association.

[Image credit: Reuters]