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Hazardous chemical found in orange juice: the OJ scare and what the FDA says

Thursday January 12, 2012

Reported by Veronica Roberts

We have had several food recalls in 2011 which left consumers scrambling through refrigerators and pantries to return or throw out the offending items. 2012 is barely in and the scare is once again upon us. This time it is that breakfast drink that many Americans reach for everyday.

No, it's not coffee but even more important, for children are among the consumers. It is orange juice. A hazardous fungicide banned here in the U.S. called Carbendazim, was reportedly found in one manufacturer's supply and this company was concerned enough to call the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Carbendazim was banned from the U.S. around 2008 for it was found to be linked to cancers and birth defects. However some foreign countries still use the chemical.

According to local Channel 7 News, Wednesday, the FDA has suspended the import of foreign orange juice until further investigation. Incidentally, we import oranges from abroad but only a reported 2 percent are inspected by the FDA. Just 2 percent.

CNN reports that this batch of orange juice allegedly imported from Brazil, had small amounts of the carbendazim -- 1,000 times below the danger limit and the FDA thinks there is nothing to worry about, but consumers aren't so sure.The brand name of the chemical tainted orange juice has not been released so consumers have no idea which ones to avoid on the supermarket shelves. This can add to the hysteria.

Mounting scepticism about the food agencies ability to keep us safe is out there, for we have had one scare after another-- from eggs and peanut butter to milk, lettuce, spinach and fruits like cantaloupes, just to name a few. The conflicting and sometimes downright inaccurate data distributed to the public elevates the problem. The last raging debate was over another drink used especially by children and hospitals: apple juice.

A war of words between Dr. Mehmet Oz and resident "Good Morning America" corresponent, Dr. Richard Besser, ensued over an episode on his Fox 5 "The Dr. Oz Show" where he stated apple juice had dangerous levels of Arsenic. Dr. Besser said he was "scaremongering" but Dr. Oz stood his ground, saying he had done extensive tests.

Turns out he was right and the FDA had made serious miscalculations. This is the kind of error that has consumer confidence in the governmental watchdog way down.

Three out of every five consumers I spoke with said they do not trust the FDA to keep our food safe and that they feared they are eating and drinking at their own risk.

No recall has been issued but if you want to find out where your orange juice fruits originally came from, click link below, compliments of the Huffington Post.

HuffPost Kitchen Daily guide to OJ.