The Latest Orange Juice Recall Begs the Question: Is any Amount of Pesticide Safe to Drink?
The topic of pesticides, including fungicides appearing in higher than normal levels in orange juice and orange juice concentrate has just come up in the news this past week. My ears perked up at the orange juice recall because I am interested in eating clean food. I was fascinated to hear the news on mainstream news outlets, not just NPR. It is heartening to know that mainstream Americans are starting to talk about and be concerned about the issue of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides in our food supply.
The problem of dangerous chemicals in our food is not a fringe issue! It affects everybody who eats food, and is especially significant for babies, children, and elders; all of who suffer from contaminated food more acutely than able-bodied adults. If you don’t care about what you put in your own body, at least care about what you feed your children and family members!
After deciding I wanted to write about this issue of fungicides in fruit juice I happened to watch the Dr. Oz show on January 18 and he had a great presentation about the topic. What I learned from Dr. Oz is that even though there are safety regulations in the United states regarding what fungicides can be sprayed on orange trees in the U.S. the same chemicals can be used on fruit trees in other countries—Brazil for example. In this particular case the orange juice, which is used as a base for different brands of orange juice, was shipped from Brazil and was found to have Carbendazim, a chemical fungicide residue in it.
Any Carbendazim is illegal in the American food supply, so hence the uproar. But why is the FDA is now saying that the amount of chemical in the juice was not enough to hurt anybody. I beg to differ. This incident, like all the food recalls constantly coming over the RSS feed, is to remind us to be vigilant about our food.
How does the chemical residue found on orange peels get into the juice triggering a orange juice recall?
When the whole, apparently unwashed oranges are squeezed into juice, the dangerous residue from the peel is squeezed into the juice along with the pulp inside. Now, one thing that makes eating non-organic citrus fruit less harmful to you than eating a non-organic apple for instance, is the fact that you peel the orange, tangerine, or grapefruit and then eat what’s inside. There is that natural barrier between the chemical residues and the fruit that you eat. That is the peel.
The fact that the peel can contain unsafe pesticides is a reason to always wash the fruit with an outer skin before you peel it!
I found a very interesting article about this latest food safety scare and recall by the FDA at foodsafetynews.com. The article explains the situation very well. I have excerpted the first few paragraphs here. Follow the link if you would like to read the whole thing.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports that low levels of the chemical carbendazim have been found in some orange juice products that contain imported orange juice concentrates.
Carbendazim is a fungus-killing chemical used in Brazil and some other countries to preserve agricultural crops. Brazil provides about 11 percent of the orange juice in the United States market, and industry reports indicate that carbendazim is being used there because of a problem with black spot, a type of mold that grows on orange trees.
However, use of carbendazim on oranges and in orange juices is illegal in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not approved the use of carbendazim as a pesticide on oranges and it is an unlawful pesticide residue under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act”.
To read more about the orange juice recall check out this article at foodsafetynews.com.