Mommy, Why is There Fungicide in My OJ?


The FDA is halting imports of orange juice this week. The reason: a potential for contamination with a fungicide called carbendazim. Carbedazim is used to prevent mold on oranges in various countries, but has not been approved for use on oranges in the US. High dosages of carbendazim have caused infertility and damage to testicles in lab animals.

We import about a quarter of our OJ, and a batch from Brazil somehow got contaminated with tiny yet detectable amounts of carbendazim. This comes on the heels of the recent apple juice / arsenic scare and brings front and center a growing problem in our food supply. As more ingredients and finished products are sourced from countries with lax food safety regulations, the higher the chances we will encounter issues such as this.

Unfortunately, the FDA does not have enough resources to manage this. The only reason they learned about this fungicide, is because it was tipped by one of the juice companies.

And for us discerning consumers, there is just no way to know where the ingredients in our food are sourced from. The country of origin labeling law (COOL) does not apply to most packaged foods.

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  • LOhioMom

    This is exactly why we should being buying American. Florida’s Natural is the only OJ brand I buy for my family because its the only juice I can find that doesn’t use oranges from other countries. All, and I’ve researched, all of the other brands out there use oranges from Brazil and other countries and mix them with our own to sell.

  • worried mom

    Fungicide keeps mold out, right? I don’t like mold. My kids are allergic to molds and we had to treat our basement. The applejuice arsenic scare was pretty much a hoax and probably this orange juice thing is too. I don’t want mold in my kids orange juice.

    • Peter Aguilar

      sorry to inform you, but the arsenic thing wasn’t a hoax. And the reason they use fungicide is because the oranges are shipped from a large distance, so the best option would be to buy orange juice that doesnt use oranges from other countries. That way you get no mold Or fungicide.

  • Jennifer Day

    From what I read just now, the chemical is always there but it is just in very small amounts. Personally, I don’t want even small amounts in me or my children. What are we supposed to do though? Grow our own orange trees and make our own juice? It’s frustrating. I will be looking into Florida’s Natural. 

    • Michele

      Look into WATER.  ALL fruit juice(even made at home) is inferior, nutritionally, to whole fruit; ALL manufactured fruit juice is full of “other” ingredients. This book: changed my life; I’ll never drink manufactured fruit juice again…the oranges are squeezed and then stored for UP TO A YEAR in tanks…by which time the juice’s flavor, color and nutrients have greatly deteriorated…so flavors, colors and vitamins are ADDED back in.  Not worth drinking.  Feed your kids a nice sliced orange and a glass of water.

  • Brian Fischer

    People need to realize that
    American oranges that are turned into juice also have a fungicide on
    them, it is just that it is a different fungicide. The article doesn’t
    make that clear. I wouldn’t want to eat that fungicide in high doses either, even though it is approved for use in our country. Who knows how much of it is in American juice.

    This FDA ban is just a reaction to a tip from a domestic juice company that is trying to reduce competition from foreign imports rather than to truly educate the consumer or make juice available more safe or healthy.

    I work for a citrus grower/packer. I only
    drink orange juice from oranges that are fresh and in season that I
    juice myself. If you juice your own orange, you can make sure you’re not getting chemicals from the peel in your juice.
    Also, if you wonder why it is so much more expensive to make
    your own juice instead of buy it, you should go to a citrus packing
    house and see how the oranges that go into juice look. They do not look
    like the oranges in the Tropicana commercial. Americans need to educate themselves on how the “100% natural” orange juice they buy in the store is made, processed, stored, and reflavored. Remember that “Natural” to the food companies does not mean the same thing it does to the consumer.

    • Honest Abbey

      Why would you work for and accept pay from an employer whose product you deem to be unsafe? What sort of loser sells out his standards for a few sheckles? I’m sure your employer is thrilled you are shilling for the competition.

  • Guest


  • Mdeva

    The FDA is too understaffed to have detected the Carbedazim. Gee, I wonder which Party is responsible for the cuts.

  • FG

    I am from Brazil and I am not surprised – a long time ago there was a huge scandal with pesticides in strawberries, farm workers are know to get sick and cancer since they spray this stuff and have no protective gear whatsoever. If the US forbids the OJ to come here they will try to push to the locals (or maybe follow the law).

    On a side note, I am very suspicious when  I see “organic from Mexico”, I know how things are in Latin America and how understaffed the FDA is…

  • Anonymous

    If you want to stop importing foods, then get used to having fresh orange juice only available for a couple of months a year. Americans demand having things like OJ and apple juice available year round. It’s impossible to have this unless you import or end seasons.