Originally published February 3 2012
Tainted juice saga reveals shocking truth about how much food we import
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Last month, the Coca-Cola Company notified the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that imported orange juice it uses in some of its drink products was found to be tainted with carbendazim, an illegal crop fungicide linked to infertility and testicular damage. Less than a month later, PepsiCo, prompted by the Coca-Cola announcement, tested its own products and discovered carbendazim in its orange juice products as well.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, not even a month after Coca-Cola's discovery of carbendazim in its Simply and Minute Maid orange juice brands, PepsiCo found the same chemical in its Tropicana orange juice brand. Though the chemical was detected in levels lower than what regulators consider serious, carbendazim does not belong in US food products in any amount because it is illegal here.
Brazil, a major importer of orange juice to the US, uses carbendezim to protect orange crops from disease, even though the chemical is extremely toxic. And all-too-willing to cut costs by importing orange juice rather than source it domestically, both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have inadvertently put its customers at a serious health risk by exposing them to this illicit chemical.
The discovery of carbendazim in imported orange juice products has raised serious concerns about the safety of imported juice altogether, as well as about the competence of the nation's regulatory agencies to detect food imports that are tainted. But the findings also reveal the shocking volume of imported food that floods the US every year, and the fact that safety testing on this food is not always properly conducted.
According to available data, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's orange juice products and brands together comprise nearly 60 percent of all orange juice sales in the US. This means that a good chunk of orange juice sold in the US, perhaps even more than 50 percent of it, comes from countries other than the US.
The figures for apple juice are even worse. A recent Associated Press report explains that a whopping 85 percent of apple juice sold in the US is imported, mostly from China. The apples used to make this juice are considered "inferior," which is why they are used to make juice rather than sold whole on store shelves.
The same report says about half of all the fresh fruit sold in the US today comes from foreign countries, while only about 25 percent of it came from foreign countries back in 1975. Within the past 20 years, overall food imports have also risen 50 percent, from 11.3 percent to 16.8 percent.
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