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Is Your Orange Juice Safe?

Another fruit juice is the subject of health concerns – orange juice.  Several weeks ago Coca-Cola found a fungicide called carbendazim, a toxic pesticide, in orange juice imported from Brazil and reported the problem to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  In response, the FDA has halted imported shipments of orange juice while it tests orange juice shipments for possible contamination of carbendazim.

The FDA has indicated that it is not concerned about the safety of orange juice that is currently on store shelves, but if the tests reveal a public health concern, the FDA could take action to remove the product from retailers.

Some experts have expressed concerns that the presence of fungicide in imported orange juice highlights holes that exist in the FDA’s regulatory system.  Although the U.S. has taken measures to prevent the presence of carbendazim and other pesticides in U.S. food sources, these measures have limited effect when other countries have not taken the appropriate measures to ensure that their products are free from dangerous chemicals.  Accordingly, some experts recommend that the FDA take additional steps to prevent the importation of unsafe food products.

The orange juice scare comes on the heels of recent health concerns over levels of arsenic in apple juice.  As we recently reported, an investigation conducted by Consumer Reports of apple and grape juice found that:

  • Approximately 10 percent of the juice samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards of 10 ppb, most of which was inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.

  • One in four samples had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. (There are currently no federal limits for lead levels in juice, only water.)

  • Apple and grape juice make up a significant source of dietary exposure to arsenic.

  • Thirty-five percent of children 5 years of age and younger drink juice in quantities that exceed pediatricians’ recommendations.

  • Mounting scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead – even at levels that are below the limits for water – can result in serious health problems.

  • Inorganic arsenic has been detected at alarming levels in other foods.

Consumers can be proactive about limiting potential exposure to dangerous chemicals by taking the following precautions:

  • Drinking domestic, rather than imported, orange juice

  • Drinking certified organic juice

  • Eating fresh oranges and other fruit instead of drinking juice

The Chicago product liability attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to promoting safe food sources and protecting the victims of product liability cases and foodborne illnesses.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.