Brazil citrus industry drops controversial orange fungicide

06 February 2012 22:47  [Source: ICIS news]

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (ICIS)--Brazil's citrus research foundation on Monday removed carbendazim from its list of recommended fungicides after the substance was found in orange juice.

Fundecitrus, a citrus grower industry-funded research foundation, took the action after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused the entry of several Brazilian shipments of orange juice that contained carbendazim.

"Our goal is to protect Brazilian producers and save the next harvest as most of what we produce is exported", said Lourival Carmo Monaco, president of Fundecitrus.

The executive said domestic market may benefit while the industry adjusts to the removal of the fungicide.

"The more the orange we export has more quality, the more it will benefit domestic market", Monaco said.

Brazil is the world's largest exporter of frozen concentrate orange Juice (FCOJ) and the US is the world's largest importer. 

Brazilian juice accounts for one-tenth of US consumption.

Brazil law still allows citrus growers to use the fungicide, which kills black spot, a mould that grows on orange trees.

US FDA bars the entry of shipments of orange products with 10 parts per billion or higher of carbendazim, while in Brazil, the quantity of the chemical may reach 500 parts per billion of the product.

Monaco said his group removed other chemicals from its list of recommended fungicides.

Carbendazim has been found to cause health problems laboratory rats.

The US FDA said it was continuing to ensure that orange juice in the US does not pose a safety concern due to the presence of carbendazim residues. 

The agency said it is testing samples of orange juice from all countries that export to the US, as well as citrus products from domestic producers.

"Based on all results we have seen to date, we remain confident that orange juice in the US may be consumed without concerns about its safety due to the possible presence of such residues", the US FDA said.

By: Leo Siqueira
+1 713 525 2600

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