Unapproved Fungicide Found in Orange Juice

January 12th, 2012

Ugh, if you ever needed an excuse to buy organic orange juice, here it is!

Yep. Coke has found an “unapproved fungicide” in its orange juice, and the orange juice of its competitors. So, there’s an approved fungicide for orange juice? I guess so.

The problem came from Brazilian growers who sprayed their trees with the “unapproved fungicide.”

I don’t drink OJ often, but I was craving some recently. I don’t like buying large containers of OJ since it ends up being wasted. Just yesterday, I saw a small container of Simply Orange, and decided to put in it my cart. But guess what? Simply Orange has juice from Brazil. I don’t know if this is the juice that’s contaminated, but I’ve learned my lesson anyway.

I’m annoyed that the FDA and Coke aren’t yet naming the affected or suspect orange juice brands. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that shipments of orange juice will be stopped at ports for testing. Coke makes Simply Orange and Minute Maid.

Simply Orange is going back to the store, and I’m never buying conventional orange juice again. I don’t need any fungicides, approved or not. The EPA says that we shouldn’t worry over fungicides at such low levels, but I think that’s ridiculous.

Oranges aren’t even on the dirty dozen list, so these fungicide findings are making me wonder whether any conventionally grown fruits are safe.

Please call Coke to demand better quality control: 1-800-GET-COKE (438-2653). I doubt that the problem is isolated to Coke, but they’re one of the largest makers of orange juice, so it’s a good place to start. Again, I don’t buy OJ often, but now I’m looking for a safe option for the few times I do purchase it.

Do you have a favorite organic orange juice brand?

UPDATE 1/12/12: I just called Minute Maid/Coke. I wouldn’t tell you to do something I wouldn’t do myself!

The person I talked with, Tommy, was very friendly and had plenty of information about this issue. He explained that Coke quickly notified regulators about the problem when they discovered it. They were the whistle blowers.

I pointed out that it took a few weeks between them blowing that whistle and the news story coming out. He pointed out that with Simply Orange sometimes all the oranges used do come from the U.S., but it’s not always possible. He also said that the low levels of fungicides detected were deemed safe, so there’s no recall. There was no offer of refund.

I pointed out that I’d like to see an organic option from the company. He said that was great feedback to give to their executives and he got my ZIP code.