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Fungicide In Orange Juice: Coca-Cola Alerted FDA About Fungicide Sprayed On Brazilian Orange Trees

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NEW YORK -- Coca-Cola Co. said Thursday it alerted the Food and Drug Administration after it discovered via testing its own and competitors' products that some Brazilian growers had sprayed their orange trees with a fungicide that is not approved for use in the U.S.

The FDA had said Monday that an unnamed juice company alerted it in December after detected low levels of the fungicide in orange juice products after testing its own and competitors' products.

Most orange juice products made by Coke and other companies contain a blend of juice from different sources including Brazil.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola did not say which of its own and others' products it tested contained the fungicide. Its own orange juice products include Simply Orange and Minute Maid.

"This is an industry issue that affects every company that produces products in the U.S. using orange juice from Brazil," said Coca-Cola spokesman Dan Schafer. He declined to say whether its tests shows fungicide in Coca-Cola products

The FDA has said the low levels found of the fungicide aren't a safety risk but they will increase testing to make sure the contamination isn't a problem.

The fungicide, carbendazim, is not currently approved for use on citrus in the U.S., but is used in Brazil, which exports orange juice to the United States. Brazil is the biggest producer of oranges in the world, according to the Agriculture Department.

Coca-Cola says it continues to work with the FDA on the issue.

In addition to Coca-Cola, Pepsico Inc.'s Tropicana brand is one of the largest U.S. orange juice producers.

Coca-Cola shares fell 40 cents to $67.66 in morning trading Thursday. PepsiCo shares fell 28 cents to $64.73 per share.

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