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FDA Finds Traces of Fungicide in OJ

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON ) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found levels of the pesticide carbendazim in 11 samples of orange juice imported to the U.S., according to a statement from the agency.

Officials are in the process of testing 80 samples of orange juice from foreign countries, and imported and foreign products at domestic juice manufacturers. So far, 29 of those tests have been negative. Of the samples that tested positive, six came from Canada and five from Brazil. The FDA said in a statement that those samples were refused entry into the U.S.

To test positive for the pesticide, orange juice samples had to contain at least 10 parts per billion of the pesticide. Carbendazim has been found to cause birth defects in rodents and some chromosome problems in human cells in laboratories. However, it hasn’t been found to have any health effects for humans.

Although low levels of the pesticide have been found, the FDA said they do not pose a significant health threat.

“FDA is confident that orange juice in the United States may be consumed without concerns about its safety due to the possible presence of such residues,” said a statement on the agency’s website.

Carbendazim is a pesticide used to kill fungus and fungal spores. It is not approved for use on oranges in the U.S. but is lawful in other countries.

Alerted by a report from one company of levels of carbendazimin in its orange juice, the FDA began testing all orange juice entering the U.S. from foreign countries earlier this month, as well as orange juice currently on store shelves. So far, no products have been recalled.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 26.4 percent of orange juice consumed in the U.S. in 2010 was imported, and 56.4 percent of those imports came from Brazil.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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